Monday, 23 October, 2017

Scientists issue new quake warning

Seismogram being recorded by a seismograph at the Weston Observatory in Massachusetts USA Seismogram being recorded by a seismograph at the Weston Observatory in Massachusetts USA
Tracy Craig | 09 March, 2017, 00:43

According to the 53 pages study, researchers used two methods to reach these conclusions about the possibility of a big natural disaster in California.

Scientists uncovered a newly identified fault line that could unleash a magnitude-7.4 quake in the region, which other researchers say is already long overdue for a whopper of a temblor along the infamous San Andreas fault.

While the likelihood of a full rupture sits at 30-40%, lead author Valerie Sahakian, who is now a postdoctoral fellow at the USGS in Menlo Park, says that a smaller natural disaster in the magnitude 5 or 6 range could still have a significant impact on the region.

The Scripps Institution of Oceanography has re-characterized the Newport-Inglewood and Rose Canyon faults, saying that they represent a single system that could produce a magnitude 7.3 quake if their offshore segments ruptured.

This allowed them to generate a "nested survey" of the region, accounting for different resolution scales and depth penetration.

The work revealed that four segments of the strike-slip fault are broken up by "stepovers" - or, points where the fault is horizontally offset.

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The earthquakes examined by the authors of the study were most often around 7.5, a magnitude significantly less devastating than 7.9, but scientists say that's still powerful enough to cause tremendous disruptionacross Southern California. Researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey released the results of the years-long study warning a major quake could strike soon. The new research shows that M=7.3+ earthquakes are possible along this fault zone.

"The record shows that large earthquakes occurred near Tejon Pass on average every 100 years".

As if the San Andreas fault wasn't worrying enough already, California has another big potential quake problem to be concerned about. The study also found evidence that, along the onshore segment of the system, three to five ruptures had happened in the last 11,000 years on the northern end, whereas one quake occurred roughly 400 years ago on the southern end.

The fault system hosted a 6.4-magnitude natural disaster near Long Beach, California in 1933. And, in their report, the scientists noted the fault "poses a significant hazard to coastal Southern California" because it is so close to some of the most densly populated parts of the state. It's not the big one.

"There's certainly going to be several minutes of ground shaking in the L.A. basin for a large-magnitude rupture like a 7.5 or greater", Scharer said.

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