The two methods used to derive the maximum potential for a rupture of the entire fault found estimates between magnitude 6.7 and magnitude 7.3 to 7.4 quakes, according to the study.
According to the study, if the offshore sections split, a magnitude-7.3 quake could be produced and up to magnitude-7.4 if the onshore segments fissure. "Even if you have a high 5- or low 6-magnitude quake, it can still have a major impact on those regions which are some of the most densely populated in California".
The single fault system, which runs underwater from San Diego Bay to Seal Beach in Orange County and on land through the Los Angeles basin, poses a significant threat to some of the most densely populated areas along coastal Southern California and Tijuanna, Mexico, wrote seismologists from the University of California, San Diego and the University of Nevada, Reno. The study appeared in the most recent issue of the American Geophysical Union'sJournal of Geophysical Research. The disparate data have different resolution scales and depth of penetration providing a "nested survey" of the region. The small size of the three stepovers that link four main parts of the Newport-Inglewood and Rose Canyon fault system make them unlikely to be able to stop an natural disaster spreading throughout the whole system. "Large, but less damaging earthquakes, like magnitude 7.5, may be the more typical type of occurrence along this stretch of the fault", Graves said.
A report from the U.S. Geological Survey has warned the risk of "the big one" hitting California has increased dramatically.
"The record shows that large earthquakes occurred near Tejon Pass on average every 100 years".
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This Temblor figure shows the Southern California coastline both with and without faults.
There is a significant fault between San Diego and Los Angeles that could be the cause of a magnitude 7.4 quake in California.
The last major natural disaster on the Newport-Inglewood/Rose Canyon fault was the 1933 magnitude 6.4 quake in Long Beach, which killed 115 people and spurred changes in, among other things, school construction.
The population-dense region is also dense in wineries and breweries.
As a response, what planners envision is a deployment of civilian and military personnel and equipment that would eclipse the response to any natural disaster that has occurred so far in the US. "The San Andreas for the most part - even the 7.8 magnitude prediction - does very little damage".
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