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A Timely Warning on Quakes

October 27, 1989

Thank you for your expose on the dangers of the Newport-Inglewood Fault, in comparison to the San Andreas Fault. I only wish the Seal Beach City Council would take notice of your research.

It's important for the people of Seal Beach to understand the valuable information you provided, such as the comparison with the San Andreas, and notice that a "sizeably smaller temblor on the Newport-Inglewood Fault could produce the same catastrophic results. The reason is location. . . . Its potential for destruction should it shake or shift is unarguable, experts say. The fault encompasses some of the most intensely developed neighborhoods. . . . A magnitude-7.3 quake on the fault could cause $60 billion in property damage. Nearly 5,000 people could die."

Local activists have brought in experts who have testified about the dangers of the Newport-Inglewood Fault and any development in that area, but the Seal Beach City Council ignores these experts. Perhaps they will take notice of your expert, Caltech seismologist Kate Hutton, saying: "A smaller earthquake on the Newport-Inglewood could cause an equal amount of damage of a bigger quake on the San Andreas."

While we wait for The Big One to happen, the Seal Beach City Council has put its stamp of approval on a large development on top of the Newport-Inglewood Fault. Let's hope the California Coastal Commission heeds your warnings.

Michelle A. Brendel, Ph.D., Seal Beach

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