Fault Could Cause 'Quake From Hell' in LA

Puente Hills bigger threat to LA than San Andreas

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 31, 2014 4:51 AM CDT | Updated Mar 31, 2014 7:39 AM CDT

(Newser) – The San Andreas fault is famous, but the lesser-known fault that caused Friday night's 5.1 earthquake could be the one that delivers the "Big One" that devastates Los Angeles, experts warn. The Puente Hills fault runs under downtown Los Angeles into Hollywood, near many older buildings, and the US Geological Survey estimates that a 7.5 quake along the fault could kill up to 18,000 people and cause up to $250 billion in damage, the AP finds. An even stronger quake along the San Andreas would be less damaging, experts say.

A major quake along the fault "would be very damaging to central Los Angeles," the director of the Southern California Earthquake Center tells CBS. "An earthquake engineer once told me this could be the earthquake from Hell." He warns that quakes like Friday's don't relieve the pressure along faults, but are "actually associated with bigger earthquakes." In the area hardest-hit by Friday's quake and more than 100 aftershocks, no serious injuries have been reported but officials have yet to release damage estimates, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Merchandise is strewn across the floor in a La Habra Walgreens following Friday night's 5.1 earthquake.   (AP Photo/The Orange County Register, Blaine, Ohigashi)
A broken wall blocks the sidewalk after an earthquake hit Orange County .   (AP Photo/The Orange County Register, Ken Steinhardt)
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