LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A new study is raising concern about a major earthquake hitting Southern California.

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Researchers at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography have discovered faults underneath the Salton Sea that they believe could trigger a massive quake.

Some experts say man’s interference with the Colorado River may have 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.

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Experts say the added pressure and newly-discovered  “step-over” faults could lead to a 7.0 quake or larger, once the San Andreas Fault jolts “back to life” under the Salton Sea.

“The concern is that you could have an earthquake on one of those faults then trigger a bigger earthquake on one of the adjacent faults,” says Caltech professor Joann Stock.

However, Stock says earthquakes are primarily driven by plate tectonics, not interference with water tables.

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Visit www.shakeout.org for more information on how you can prepare for Southern California’s next big earthquake.