L.A.’s biggest earthquake threat is on overlooked part of San Andreas fault: Study

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Carmen Rivera and her dog Ash pass by a dislodged mobile home following the Ridgecrest, Calif., earthquake in 2019. A new study suggests the long-awaited Big One may do less damage to the Los Angeles area than previously thought.(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Carmen Rivera and her dog Ash pass by a dislodged mobile home following the Ridgecrest, Calif., earthquake in 2019. A new study suggests the long-awaited Big One may do less damage to the Los Angeles area than previously thought.(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Scientists have pinpointed a long-overlooked portion of the southern San Andreas fault that they say could pose the most significant earthquake risk for the Greater Los Angeles area — and it’s about 80 years overdue for release.

But there could be a silver lining. If their analysis is right, experts say it’s possible that when a long-predicted and much more devastating earthquake hits, it may not do quite as much damage to the region as some scientists previously feared.

“That’s a significant reduction in risk for L.A. if this is true,” said longtime seismologist Lucy Jones, who was not involved in the study published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances.

The San Andreas fault is a roughly 800-mile fracture that runs much of the length of California and is capable of producing a much-feared, massive temblor known simply as “the Big One.”

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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