A union of two earthquake faults may create a Big One in California

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The San Andreas fault is considered to be the primary plate boundary fault in southern California and the most likely fault to produce a major earthquake.

But according to another research work, the ‘Big One’ could start on the San Jacinto fault and continue on the San Andreas, which is California’s longest and one of its most dangerous faults.

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Two active Southern California faults may cause a Big One by rupturing together

Two of Southern California’s most active faults could rupture together in a magnitude-7.5 earthquake, according to a new study.

The scientific work demonstrates how a major earthquake could begin on the San Jacinto fault and continue on the San Andreas.

The San Jacinto fault runs through San Bernardino, Colton, Moreno Valley, Redlands, Loma Linda, Hemet and San Jacinto, as well as near Riverside, Rialto and Fontana and thus cuts through a lot more people than the San Andreas fault, which has however produced stronger earthquakes.

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The San Andreas fault by sanandreasfault.org

The study shows it’s not just the San Andreas that should worry Southern California. There are, in fact, multiple pathways to get to a Big One.

This new study reflects the general agreement that the San Jacinto plays an almost-equal role to the San Andreas in terms of direct hazards to Southern California as The San Jacinto goes right through downtown San Bernardino. For the larger Los Angeles region, a rupture on this fault could produce equivalent amounts of damage as the San Andreas.

The idea behind the study resulted from the scientific mystery of the great 1812 earthquake. The quake was so extensive and nobody was able to explain this power.

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A map showing where records of damage were recorded in the wake of the December 1812 earthquake. Image: J. Lozos

What if the 1812 earthquake was caused by the San Jacinto and San Andreas faults?

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