Scientist have a new cause of concern and also discovery as a new fault line has been found in California running parallel to the San Andreas Fault line.
The new fault line, or Salton Trough Fault as it has been called, runs along the eastern edge of the Salton Sea and has evaded past detections and proper imaging as it runs underwater. The new fault line was discovered after scientists carried out investigations so as to explain the extensive deformation traces found along the area and that would detect an undiscovered line.
With San Andreas, which is the state’s longest fault line just nearby, scientist have come to believe that Salton Trough may be one of the reasons why no major earthquake has hit the state in recent years, as the newly discovered line is thought to be absorbing some of the strain faced in the other area.
The San Andreas fault’s southern portion has a 175 to 200 year period of pause between the magnitude 7 earthquakes it produces and its next big shake has long since passed its usual period of rumble. Over 300 years have passed since the area’s last big earthquake.
New studies and research will have to be carried out in order to determine the exact relation between the two parallel line, as the surfacing of the new Salton Trough Line could be a cause of concern and also discovery, it will surely bring with it a new understanding of the seismic area.
As researchers explained, the area’s current understanding may be altered and redesigned as the new presence will most likely modify the currently known rupture dynamics and stress transfers. The San Andreas southern ground-motion simulation and community fault models would also have to be reconsidered and redesigned.
The new fault line’s discovery was also aided, besides research, by a number of almost 200 small scale quakes that shook the Salton Sea, and which posed questions in regards to the “Big One”. Scientist fear that a massive earthquake, of an 8 or higher magnitude could potentially happen along the San Andreas Fault.
The chance of such an earthquake is getting increasingly higher, with every small scale quake being a potential warning for the “Big One”. As the would-be affected area hosts a number of densely populated urban establishment the likes of Los Angeles and San Francisco, to name just a few, the U.S. Congress has come to agree that an early warning system is vital, as it could improve survival rates.
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