Fault running along LA, OC coast could trigger earthquake as strong as 7.8, study shows

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The Palos Verdes Fault zone, which runs along the coast of Los Angeles and Orange counties, could trigger a 7.8 magnitude earthquake, according to a new study released Friday.

In the study, scientists at Harvard University said they now believe the fault line is connected. It was previously thought to be a segmented network of smaller faults deep beneath the Palos Verdes Peninsula.

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The fault system runs for nearly 70 miles along the Southern California coast, from Santa Monica Bay all the way to Dana Point. Scientists say it has the potential to cause an earthquake as large as what could cause the San Andreas Fault.

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At its worst, they say it would unleash an earthquake that combines the most destructive features of the 1994 Northridge earthquake, a 6.7, and the 7.1 Ridgecrest earthquake that struck in 2019.

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The survey results may not come as a surprise to Southern Californians, but some said it’s a good reminder to always be prepared for an earthquake.

“We have to make sure we have our earthquake insurance up to date, we have to make sure we have the water for three days, the canned goods, because no one will be able to help us during that time,” a woman told Eyewitness News .

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