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The Big One: Newly Discovered SoCal Fault Could Unleash Major Los Angeles Quake

California geologists released a study this week detailing their discovery of a fault near the edge of the Salton Sea that could prove potentially dangerous for millions of residents.The study comes after a swarm of some 200 small earthquakes rocked Southern California last week, raising concern that a major earthquake may be on the horizon.

Published in the October 2016 issue of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, the National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded study said that the newly found rift, called the Salton Trough Fault, runs parallel to the San Andreas fault.

The scientists wrote that the Salton Fault “represents a major geohazard to the populated areas of southern California, in particular the larger Los Angeles metropolitan area,” an area already prone to earthquakes.

The San Andreas fault is 800 miles long, and forms a tectonic boundary between the Pacific Plate, moving northwest, and the North American plate, moving southeast. The Salton Sea lies 125 miles northeast of San Diego and about 160 miles southeast of Los Angeles.