15:16 GMT04 August 2020
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    A study released on Monday reveals that land around the San Andreas fault is rising and sinking as a result of plate tectonics, and eventually tensions will release through a massive earthquake.

    The 800-mile San Andreas fault is the longest transform fault in the state, with its last big earthquake in 1857. Some areas of the fault have accumulated stress for over 300 years. While energy and tension will eventually be released, scientists maintain that it is impossible to tell when precisely it will happen.

    “It’s pretty much impossible to say when the next one will happen,” Sam Howell, a doctoral candidate in geophysics at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and the lead author of the report, funded by the National Science Foundation, stated.

    The report found that the movement of land around the fault is subtle, but significant, detailing that large portions of the Los Angeles Basin, Orange County, San Diego County and the Bakersfield areas are sinking two to three millimeters a year, while Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, and a large portion of San Bernardino County, are rising at a similar rate, the Los Angeles Times said.

    “Once there is a major event, all of that energy gets released,” said Howell.

    This will cause some areas around the fault to be rapidly shifted to the same level, and will cause catastrophic damage.

    In 2008, the US Geological Survey warned that an earthquake of 7.8 magnitude could result in over 1,800 deaths, at least 50,000 injuries, and cause some $200 billion in damage. The federal agency also warned that sewer systems could be taken out of service for up to six months.

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    Tags:
    US Geological Survey, National Science Foundation, Sam Howell, San Andreas Fault, California
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