Overdue California quake greater than thought, report says

Story highlights

  • A long-overdue California earthquake may be more powerful than initially thought, warn scientists
  • A new computer model predicts that the San Andreas fault may rupture alongside the San Jacinto fault

(CNN)The San Andreas Fault has an infamous reputation, but there are other fault lines lying around California that can trigger a powerful earthquake, especially if they rupture simultaneously, a new report says.

A U.S. geologist discovered that the San Andreas and the San Jacinto faults may have ruptured together about 200 years ago, creating an earthquake that was felt from north of Los Angeles to San Diego, based on historical data captured by missionaries in those areas.
The San Andreas Fault, a system that stretches more than 800 miles and is about 10 miles deep, is long overdue for an eruption, one that seismologists predict will be the source of a powerful earthquake along California's coastal region. The fault is due for an epic tremor every 150 years, the U.S. Geological Survey says.
But this ominous future earthquake may be more catastrophic that initially thought, warns scientists.
Through dynamic rupture modeling, it has been discovered that the San Jacinto fault is capable of rupturing along with the San Andreas in just a single earthquake, according to Julian C. Lozos, an assistant professor of Geological Sciences at the California State University, Northridge.