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San Jacinto fault, more active than San Andreas, could produce damaging quake sooner than thought

Alena Maschke (Palm Springs Desert Sun)

The San Jacinto fault may not be shaking yet, but it's trembling. And if it goes, according to one study, it could rupture along with the San Andreas fault--producing a catastrophic earthquake.

Scientists at the University of California, Riverside have been using new technology to track faint movements deep inside the San Jacinto fault. This week, they've published the results of a project tracking "tectonic tremors."

The finding, said UCR earthquake seismologist Abhijit Ghosh may mean "the next damaging earthquake may be sooner than we previously thought." But he added: "To quantify these aspects, we need more data, more analysis."

The San Jacinto fault, which cuts through the southern edge of the Coachella Valley, is not as large as the more well-known San Andreas fault, which many Californians have learned to fear for its potential to produce a devastating earthquake coined "the big one".

While the San Andreas fault encompasses the space where the North American and the Pacific plate meet, the San Jacinto fault is a fracture within the Pacific plate. However, the San Jacinto fault should not be underestimated when it comes to its potential to cause damaging earthquakes.

"It's more active in terms of earthquake activity than... Read more

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