The earthquake fault cuts through the heart of Ventura's quaint downtown, past the ornate hilltop City Hall and historic Spanish-era mission before heading into the Pacific Ocean.
For decades, some seismic experts believed the Ventura fault posed only a moderate threat and was incapable of producing a major temblor.
But research in recent years shows that the fault is extremely dangerous, capable of producing an earthquake as large as magnitude 8 as well as severe tsunamis that until now experts didn't believe were possible from a Southern California quake.
Such a big earthquake on the fault estimated to occur every 400 to 2,400 years, experts said. The last sizable quake on the Ventura area hit about 800 years ago. Large temblors occur on this fault less frequently than on the San Andreas fault, which has long been considered the state's most dangerous.
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