‘Tectonic Train Wreck’ of Offshore California Fault Lines Could Produce Magnitude 8.0 Quake, Tsunami

posted: 06/01/15
by: Discovery.com Staff
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California residents may be jolted by a series of fault lines that geologists posit could cause magnitude 8.0 earthquakes and send tsunamis hurtling toward Los Angeles and San Diego.

Geologist Mark Legg details the faults in a new study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface. Legg and his team identified a particularly hazardous area along the North American and Pacific tectonic plates, known as the California Continental Borderland.

According to the study, plate movement along the San Andreas fault line is putting additional stress on two major faults in the area, the Santa Cruz-Catalina Ridge Fault and the Ferrelo Fault.

"We're dealing with continental collision," Legg remarked. "That's fundamental. That's why we have this mess of a complicated logjam."

It doesn't help that the area has been historically poorly studied, either. Legg says notes that, "We've got high resolution maps of the surface of Mars, yet we still don't have decent bathymetry for our own backyard."

Click here for more information from the American Geophysical Union

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