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'Rich Niche' Could Become 'Poor Moor'

September 26, 1990

The exclusive Harbor Island community in Newport Beach that you so appropriately tabbed as a "Rich Niche" (View, Sept. 11) is in grave danger of becoming a "Poor Moor." Facts in the article reveal that this former sand bar was connected into an island in the early 1920s as a resut of extensive dredging and filling operations.

October's Loma Prieta earthquake verified the vulnerability of dredged and filled land lying in or near coastal water. The predicted major event on the southern end of the San Andreas fault is likely to change much of this man-made land back to its sand-bar status. The high silt content, coupled with a high water table, will amplify the intensity of ground shaking during an earthquake. U.S. Geological Survey scientists believe that these types of land formations will shake five to eight times more intensely than inland areas. It is doubtful that any structures in such a setting can escape serious damage in a major earthquake.

JOSEPH W. FORAKER

Mission Viejo

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