Could Man Be At Fault For The Next Big Quake?

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Researchers at the Scripps Institution For Oceanography warn that man’s interference with the Colorado River could set the stage for a major earthquake along the San Andres Fault.

The Colorado River used to feed the Salton Sea until levees were built 100 years ago. Researchers say that man’s interference with the flooding may have stopped the clock on a regular series of big earthquakes, potentially resulting in pressure on fault lines.

Scientists say that the added pressure may lead to a 7.5 quake or larger, once the San Andreas Fault jolts “back to life” under the Salton Sea, Scripps said in a study published Monday in the scientific journal, Nature Geoscience.

“It’s possible that the ending of the diversion re-set the earthquake clock; we’re more than 100 years overdue for a quake that could be as big as 7.5,” said Neal Driscoll, quoted by .

“The fault could send tremendous energy towards the Los Angeles area if it broke from south to north, and could cause shaking that would make soil liquefy in bays and estuaries in San Diego County,” Driscoll said.

The Scripps study suggests that the Colorado River flooding may have affected the timing of the smaller, stress-relieving faults.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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  • John Andrews

    Wow.. Now it is man made Earth Quakes?? Probably do to the global cooling, caused by man made global warming…. Next these morons will be telling us we need to sacrife a virgin in a volcano to ward off a cataclism.. (Will have to bring one in from outside LA… What is really really sad is so many poele listen to these “Experts” .. Complete and utter loonacy !!!

  • Sam Sindaha

    O brother! here we go again.

  • Duh!

    Wait!!! They just said that Man halted earthquakes along the San Andreas fault under the Salton Sea.

    So if we keep diverting the Colorado river, maybe we could stop earthquakes in the entire region. We’ve stopped the major quakes for more than 100 years.

  • Thomas Bleming

    We should all welcome the great change that is coming upon us.
    We have trashed this home of ours and permitted vile acts of all sorts to occur. We have learned nothing from our existence upon earth and so now we’re going out when this planet decides that we need a house cleaning.
    Maybe we’ll be lucky and go out with a bang and thus save ourselves from being toasted like those Japanese.

  • Timothy McGarry

    First, I thought the Salton sea was an accident; it never existed until the levee broke?? Who’s writin’ this stuff?

  • TheWindrunner


  • Roy Rogers

    I hope it happens while I ma on vacation out of state. That when I come back to L.A.that half the population will be gone, and I will have beach front property. Then again no such luck,. Though I will still have a great vacation out of the city of ANGELES, where and heck they are, They are probably on vacation, because they don’t work for the city or the county, because they are a bunch of crooks!

  • BOB2

    The Coloarado was cut off from the Salton Seas multiple times in geological history. What is this nonsense about man “stopping” it. The last historic iteration of the Saltan Sea was actually from man caused event, the blow out of irrigation channels, which refilled the Sea in the 1900/s. Is the media really this stupid?

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