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May 19 / Dave Schumaker

Squeezing Los Angeles

New analysis of the Los Angeles Basin using GPS and satellite measurements show that the basin is rapidly being squeezed northward by up to 5mm a year. From the PhysOrg article: The study finds strain is rapidly accumulating within an area 12 to 25 kilometers [7.5 to 16 miles] south of the San Gabriel Mountains, primarily in the San Gabriel and San Fernando Valleys and nearby hills. The region is located between the Puente Hills fault, which begins south of downtown Los Angeles and extends east, and the Sierra Madre fault, which runs along the base of the San Gabriel Mountains. The new analysis indicates the crust above the Los Angeles segment of the Puente Hills Fault is being squeezed the most. The finding suggests that the Puente Hills Fault and nearby faults in the area, such as the upper Elysian Park Fault, may be more likely to break than those elsewhere in metropolitan Los Angeles. Previous studies have estimated the Puente Hills Fault might generate an earthquake of magnitude 6.6 to 7.5. The 1994 Northridge Earthquake was M6.7 and ended up being one of the costliest natural disasters in U.S. history.

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