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How the Newport-Inglewood fault-line could be worse than the San Andreas... at least for Los Angeles

An image showing what to do in an earthquake.
An image showing what to do in an earthquake.
Great California Shake Out

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Everybody's heard of the San Andreas fault, but there may be one that's even more dangerous: the Newport-Inglewood fault line, and it could affect anyone living West of downtown L.A.

The fault was the subject of a new study by UC Riverside's Robert Leeper. He spent nine years with the U.S. Geological Survey. He began by analyzing tsunamis. But, he told Take Two's A Martinez, that eventually led him to earthquakes.

"We started working in a number of California coastal wetlands looking for evidence of ancient tsunamis. Seal beach was one of the wetlands we were working in. The sediment that we saw in Seal Beach was completely different than the sediment we saw in the other California coastal wetlands."

"Buried beneath the Salt Marsh was these vegetation layers that extended across the wetlands. We saw them occurring at three distinct wetlands withing the seal beach salt marsh. Through a set of analysis, we identified that these organic-rich vegetation layers were actually old salt marsh surfaces that subsided or dropped abruptly during a large earthquake on the Newport/Inglewood fault."

On where this fault line lies

"The Newport/Inglewood fault in LA area extends from Beverly Hills, all the way down from Newport beach to the San Diego region. So a magnitude 7.5 earthquake means that the entire region from San Diego to Beverly Hills would experience heavy shaking during this earthquake. Compound that now with the new seismic hazard of the Seal Beach wetlands area, that dropping of the wetlands, it would be a massive earthquake that really would affect Southern California."

To hear the full conversation, click the blue player above.