New Study Predicts Large L.A. Earthquake Could Sink Local Beaches

Los Angeles’ beach cities might be in danger.

A new study, published by the Nature Research Journal, found that So. Cal’s Inglewood-Newport fault line could be far more destructive than previously believed.

So much so, that if a major earthquake occurred along the fault line, we could see local beaches from the Westside to Orange County drop a couple of feet in less than a minute’s time.

A similar occurrence happened centuries back, when a major quake struck the area and caused Seal Beach to collapse 1-3 feet in just seconds.

The study also found that the Inglewood-Newport fault is capable of creating such seismic activity, though it was previously believed to be far less dangerous.

“It’s not just a gradual sinking. This is boom — it would drop. It’s very rapid sinking,” said head author Robert Leeper, a geology graduate student at UC Riverside who worked on the report.

Leeper and a few scientists from California State University Fullerton originally began the study examining the Seal Beach wetlands for remains of an “ancient tsunami.”

Instead of finding any signs of a massive tidal wave, the team saw “prehistoric remains of marsh surfaces,” reports the L.A. Times.

The Inglewood-Newport fault line was originally believed to be far less active than the San Andreas fault, which runs through L.A.’s valleys. But, with this new research, the Inglewood-Newport fault is now considered to be much more of a threat.

“If you’re on the Westside of L.A., it’s probably the fastest-moving big earthquake that you’re going to have locally,” seismologist Lucy Jones told the Times. “A 7 on the Newport-Inglewood is going to do a lot more damage than an 8 on the San Andreas, especially for Los Angeles.”

Leeper and his team took several samples of sediment from the area, as they started looking at the Seal Beach wetlands for earthquake activity. Repeatedly, they saw the same pattern in the wetlands where marsh had shown signs of dropping – sometimes up to 3 feet – underwater.

“We identified three of these buried layers [composed of] vegetation or sediment that used to be at the surface,” Leeper said. “These buried, organic-rich layers are evidence of three earthquakes on the Newport-Inglewood in the past 2,000 years.”

Julian De La Torre is an expert in Los Angeles foundation inspection, foundation contractors and foundation repair. Julian’s company, Julian Construction, has inspected over 15,000 structures, working with engineering firms and local departments of building & safety. The company has done more foundation repair in Los Angeles than any other company in the area over the last five years.

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