The San Andreas Fault may cause more damage than scientists expected

A new study says the center of the San Andrea Fault may cause an even bigger earthquake in the Bay Area than scientists were expecting.

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There are three sections of the San Andreas Fault, two of the plates one in the northern part of the state and the other down south are relatively static. The third along the so-called "creeping section" moves about an inch a year and hasn't had a lot of quakes in recent history.

Morgan Page with the US Geological Survey told KCBS Radio that scientists have studied rocks from nearly two miles below the Earth's surface and discovered the area had larger quakes thousands of years ago.

"You can get an earthquake magnitude 8 rupturing all the way from Southern California to Northern California," she explained. "So, it means in a really big earthquake a much larger part of the state could potentially be impacted."

Stephen Cox, Associate Research Scientist at Columbia University worked on the study and said by analyzing the chemicals from the rocks they discovered that big earthquakes hit the area 2,000 years ago.

"We don't necessarily think those earthquakes nucleated there," he said. "The more likely scenario we think is that they start in either the north around San Francisco or in the south down closer to LA."

He added that this study should make people hopeful because the research done allows people to understand and prepare for a seismic event big or small.

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