Undersea earthquakes could trigger a Californian tsunami

California is in danger of suffering a tsunami that could impact Los Angeles or San Diego due to undersea earthquakes nearby, startling new research has warned.

The San Andreas Fault and undersea earthquakes along the Californian coastline could cause a tsunami

The San Andreas Fault and undersea earthquakes along the Californian coastline could cause a tsunami within decades Image by Tan Yilmaz / CC BY 2.0

The tension as the Pacific and North American tectonic plates grind past each other could cause catastrophic ruptures in faults along this boundary, releasing temblors of between 7.9 to 8.0 in magnitude, according to latest research just published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface.

A geologist at Legg Geophysical in California, Mark Legg explained that a “continental collision” was what was occurring. While the 800 miles San Andreas Fault gets most attention in this area of seismic eruption, it was important to remember that there was a network of faults lurking just off the Californian coast, Yahoo News reported. In an effort to measure the threat of the crustal compression, the authors of the new report examined old images of the seafloor as well as data from earthquakes from the region and measurements of floor-depths.

Their probe found a number of major problems, chief of which was the seismic stress being built up in the area. In essence what is happening because of the collision of the two continental plates is that crusts are being forced upwards.

The researchers say that such stress could result in a dangerous fault rupture similar to one likely to hit the San Andreas Fault over the coming decades.

Geologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Christopher Sorlien, who wasn’t part of the research team, said those large faults had the potential of a magnitude-8 quake.

The researchers suggested that if faults actually ruptured in particular locations, the result could send tsunami waves into Los Angeles or San Diego.

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