California seismologists have found evidence that strong earthquakes can cause ground levels to sink up to three feet, particularly near the ocean. Los Angeles, home to some 10 million people, is especially at risk, as notable earthquakes have been found to occur about once every 150 years, and the state's next one, according to seismologists, is overdue.
Evidence shows that ancient quakes along the 800-mile San Andreas Fault dropped oceanfront land between one and a half to three feet, according to scientists from the US Geological Survey and California State University Fullerton.
Predominantly lying in the state of California, the San Andreas Fault is the moving boundary between the Pacific Plate, which is heading northwest, and the North American Fault, which is crawling southeast. The enormous land masses, sliding ever so slowly past each other, routinely cause earthquakes big and small.
The Scientific Reports journal, in a study released Monday, stated that according to seismologists, the ground around Los Angeles sank over three feet during the course of at least three major earthquakes over the past 2,000 years.