Geologists discover new Fault Line near San Andreas underwater

Geologists discover new Fault Line near San Andreas underwater

Geologists have discovered a new Fault Line near San Andreas in Southern California. The newly discovered fault line could impact the San Andreas Fault that runs through the state. The team of geologists has indicated that more research would be needed as it would be crucial for ascertaining the risk of earthquakes in the region. The new fault line has been termed as Salton Trough Fault.

The Salton Trough Fault runs parallel to San Andreas Fault and geologists feel that it would also reduce the impact from San Andreas Fault and help the region. However, more research can reveal the impact of Salton Trough Fault.

The area has been well surveyed by geologists but this fault has remained unnoticed as it underwater and there has been limited seismic activity in the region. The study detailing the location and impact of Salton Trough Fault has been published in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.

Geologists believe that the region along the San Andreas Fault suffers a magnitude 7 earthquake every 175-200 years. However, the region hasn’t witnessed an earthquake over the last three hundred years and presence of Salton Trough Fault could be the reason for that.

The study was conducted by University of California, San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and the University of Nevada, Reno's Nevada Seismological Laboratory.

Recently, small intensity earthquakes were recorded in the region. A report published by Fox News informed, “The discovery of the fault could influence the geological models that scientists use when studying the region’s potential for earthquakes. In the Salton Sea area, for instance, there’s been a recent “swarm” of little earthquakes.”

Study first author, Valerie Sahakian, a researcher with the U.S. Geological Survey said, "Things like locations of the fault and expected magnitude at the fault are what's used to predict the maximum ground shaking a region can expect."

Study co-author Graham Kent, a Nevada State seismologist, said, "The extended nature of time since the most recent earthquake on the Southern San Andreas has been puzzling to the earth sciences community."

A report published by CS Monitor further informed, “During seismic experiments, the team found evidence of "extensional deformation" along the lake's shore – caused when pressure on rocks forces them to stretch – which the researchers believe points to a previously unknown fault. The fault may have been absorbing some of the strain on the San Andreas fault system, helping to explain why its southern section has not occurred for the last 300 years.”


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