New Fault Line Discovered Along California’s Salton Sea

Scientists say they’ve discovered a new fault line running along the eastern edge of the Salton Sea parallel to the San Andreas Fault.

The announcement, published this week in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, follows a recent rash of almost 200 small earthquakes at the Southern California inland sea and heightened concerns about the “Big One.”

Valerie Sahakian, a researcher with the U.S. Geological Survey and lead author of the study, said the newly named Salton Trough Fault has no connection to the recent quake swarm and the timing of the announcement is coincidental.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the swarm temporarily increased the risk of a bigger earthquake. Officials said that risk fell back to normal on Tuesday.

The largest quake in the swarm was a magnitude 4.3.

Early Wednesday, two smaller earthquakes shook land south of where the swarm was located. Sahakian said she hadn’t studied those quakes and couldn’t say if they were linked to the swarm or the Salton Trough Fault.

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SOURCE: USA Today, Barrett Newkirk