Southern California fault system capable of 7.4 magnitude earthquakes
Southern California fault system capable of 7.4 magnitude earthquakes
San Andreas fault
09 March, 2017, 00:44
Up until now the Salton trough fault (STF) managed to remain hidden, despite how well-surveyed and seismically active the state of California is, because it is underwater. The stepovers in the Newport-Inglewood and Rose Canyon fault were found to be two kilometers wide or less, leading the team to conclude that all the offshore segments of the fault could collapse together. The researchers identified four faults separated by three stepovers - a term used by geologists to denote points where the faults are offset horizontally.
This picture from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography shows the research vessel New Horizon towing a hydrophone to map the bathymetry of the Newport-Inglewood/Rose Canyon fault zone. However, along the Newport-Inglewood/Rose Canyon fault zone, none of the three stepovers exceed 2 km in width, leading the team to believe that an quake could rupture the entire length of the fault zone in M=7.3+ events.
Southern California is capable of a magnitude 7.3 natural disaster, a new analysis of the region's coast fault systems revealed. The report's conclusion was that the two systems created a continuous fault that extends beneath the surface of San Diego Bay up to Seal Beach in Orange County, then running through the Los Angeles basin. "Even if you have a high 5 or 6 magnitude quake, it can still have a major impact on those regions, which are some of the most densely populated in California", said Valerie Shakian, lead author of the study, according to International Business Times. The disparate data have different resolution scales and depth of penetration providing a "nested survey" of the region. The study appeared in the most recent issue of the American Geophysical Union'sJournal of Geophysical Research. If the southern onshore segment also ruptures, an estimated magnitude 7.4 natural disaster may occur.
'We are fortunate that seismic activity in California has been relatively low over the past century, ' said Tom Jordan, Director of the Southern California Earthquake Center and a co-author of the study.
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An aerial view of the San Andreas fault in the Carrizo Plain, Central California.
Previously, this system produced a 6.4 magnitude quake in Long Beach, Calif that killed 115 people in 1933. There is evidence of a rumbler 400 years ago on the southern end. It concluded that further study was needed to better understand the hazard potential in the area. It's not the big one.
These contingency plans reflect deep anxiety about the potential gravity of the looming disaster: upward of 14,000 people dead in the worst-case scenarios, 30,000 injured, thousands left homeless and the region's economy setback for years, if not decades. Such a quake could cause significant damage to some of the most densely populated areas in California.
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