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Updated Calif. quake map shows 50 new faults

April 28, 2010 12:11:21 AM PDT
For the first time in 16 years, California earthquake experts have released an updated seismic map that shows 50 new earthquake faults across the state.Seismologists at Caltech say there are dozens more that we really should be aware of, and the new map highlights the newly discovered fault lines that they have found in the last 20 years.

The map uses color shading to better show the paths of fault lines. The new faults are spread across the region and include some along Santa Monica Bay and the Orange County coast.

The map is for educational and planning purposes. The information can be used to determine where to build schools and hospitals and whether builders need a higher standard of construction in those areas.

Caltech seismologist Lucy Jones says every classroom in California should really have the map on the wall to promote awareness.

The fault line that stands out on the map is the one that led to the 7.1-magnitude Hector Mine earthquake in 1999. That quake didn't do much damage because it occurred in the desert area.

Seismologists say the year 2010 is shaping up to have significantly more quakes greater than 4.0 than any other year in the last decade. Many residents fear a repeat of the deadly Northridge quake 16 years.

The release of the map comes amid a number of new quakes in recent months. Residents in the Mexicali area are still dealing with aftershocks from the 7.2-magnitude earthquake.

There are 15,000 fault lines in California, but many of them are fairly short, with no evidence that they've caused sizeable quakes.

Officials are hoping the map will promote earthquake preparedness.


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