The magnitude 7.2 earthquake that rocked desert communities in Baja, Mexico on 4 April 2010 appears to have transferred strain onto southern California faults, raising the risk of a “Big One” in the Los Angeles Basin, scientists said yesterday at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco, California.
What the scientists saw was that strain propagated north, onto the Elsinore Fault, which leads into Los Angeles, and the San Jacinto Fault, which threatens the eastern part of the Los Angeles Basin near San Bernardino.
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By mid-summer, the strain had quit advancing, but that doesn’t mean the long-term threat has abated. “We know [the Baja quake] has increased the stress on the Elsinore and San Jacinto Faults,” said Eric Fielding, a geophysicist NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, California. “We don’t know if that increase is enough to cause the faults to have an earthquake in the near future, but it has definitely increased the stress.”
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