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February 8, 2004 | Kenneth Reich, Times Staff Writer
An international team of earthquake scientists said the 6.5-magnitude San Simeon earthquake fell within its broad prediction that a significant temblor would hit the region. The prediction has caught the interest of other scientists prominent in the study of earthquakes, although they caution that more work is needed to verify that the technique works.
December 30, 2003 | Paul Pringle, Times Staff Writer
Scary beauty surrounds Cameron Barrows. He works in lush groves of fan palms that erupt like mirages from moonscape terrain. Hot springs bubble beneath them. Sand dunes drift nearby. "It's an amazing place," said Barrows, director of the Coachella Valley Preserve east of Palm Springs. The 20,000-acre sanctuary owes its splendors to the San Andreas fault, the frightening part of the bargain. Many scientists say the Coachella Valley is where the 750-mile San Andreas seems most prone for an epic earthquake, a monster that would be enormously more powerful than the recent temblors in San Simeon, Calif.
December 26, 2003 | Kenneth Reich, Times Staff Writer
As the Central Coast temblor this week demonstrated, earthquakes in California occur unpredictably and in unexpected places. The magnitude 6.5 San Simeon earthquake took place without any warning that was recognized at the time -- as was the case with Northridge in 1994, Loma Prieta in 1989 and Tehachapi in 1952 -- and like those large temblors, it happened on a fault system that was unknown or barely known. Scientists initially were not even sure on which fault the Central Coast quake occurred.
December 24, 2003 | Kenneth Reich, Times Staff Writer
Why did the earthquake on the Central Coast do so little damage in towns close to the epicenter -- like San Simeon and Cambria -- but cause serious damage 20 miles away to the southeast in Paso Robles and Atascadero? The answer has to do with a seismic concept known as "directivity," under which the rupture builds up away from the epicenter in a particular direction and the strongest shaking doesn't necessarily occur right next to the quake's point of origin.
December 11, 2003 | Kenneth Reich, Times Staff Writer
An earthquake of magnitude 8.0 or even 9.0 will likely occur sometime in the future along the Cascadia Subduction Zone, which runs from British Columbia to Northern California, says a group of scientists. The international seismic experts, writing in the Journal of Geophysical Research--Solid Earth, noted that it has been authenticated that a quake in the 9 magnitude range struck off Washington and Oregon on Jan. 26, 1700, sending a destructive tsunami across the Pacific to Japan.
December 10, 2003 | Kenneth Reich, Times Staff Writer
Three scientists said Monday that computer modeling found that a magnitude 7.0 quake in the Inland Empire could in rare circumstances trigger a 7.5 to 7.8 temblor on the Sierra Madre fault close to Los Angeles. That would be an unusual event, occurring perhaps once every 10,000 years, the scientists stressed. But they said such a triggered series of temblors could be more damaging than a magnitude 8.0 quake on the San Andreas fault.
November 18, 2003 | David Kelly, Times Staff Writer
Far below the blue waters of Yellowstone Lake, a mysterious dome 2,100 feet across and 100 feet high is causing concern among scientists and citizens who don't know whether it's a harmless curiosity or a hazard on the verge of exploding. The dome, also called a bulge or an elevated plain, is less than a mile from shore and was recently explored by researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey, using unmanned submarines and sonar.
November 12, 2003 | Kenneth Reich, Times Staff Writer
Inspectors from the U.S. Geological Survey have discovered that a seismic monitoring relay station feared burned in the wildfire near Lake Arrowhead was not destroyed, but merely had its power cut. Once power was restored, 60 stations that transmit earthquake data through the Strawberry Peak relay station were brought back online to monitor seismic activity, said Egill Hauksson, a manager of the California Integrated Seismic Network.
October 25, 2003 | Kenneth Reich, Times Staff Writer
Beginning just minutes after the 7.3-magnitude Landers earthquake in 1992, a series of temblors occurred hundreds of miles away, at Mammoth Lakes, Mt. Shasta and Yellowstone National Park. Scientists agreed they had been "triggered" by the Landers quake. After the 1999 Hector Mine earthquake, magnitude 7.1, there was a triggered magnitude 4.6 quake scores of miles away near a geothermal zone alongside the Salton Sea. The two episodes inspired a California scientist, Sue Hough of the U.S.
October 16, 2003 | Kenneth Reich, Times Staff Writer
The National Science Foundation awarded $219 million Wednesday for a five-year project to examine national seismicity, with a particular focus on California and other states at tectonic plate boundaries. A $25-million portion of what is called the EarthScope project will go to drill a 2 1/2-mile-deep borehole into the San Andreas fault near Parkfield in Central California.
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