Scientists have for the first time come up with a computer picture demonstrating large parts of California rising and sinking in the area surrounding the San Andreas fault. Seismic strain has caused this vertical movement that will be released in a huge earthquake ultimately.
The San Andreas fault is the longest earthquake fault in California, and is among the state’s most dangerous ones. Since long, scientists thought that some parts of California are rising, while other parts sink in the areas around the fault in a quite subtle and extremely slow ongoing way.
The thought of such vertical movement is quite sensible. California is located on the border of two enormous tectonic plates, including the Pacific and North American that have been grinding past each other continuously.
But so far, the actual observation of how the landscape of California is going up and dropping due to seismic strain has been a mysterious goal.
On Monday, a study has been published in the journal Nature Geoscience, wherein scientists discovered that a large portion of the Los Angeles Basin, Orange County, San Diego County and the Bakersfield area have been sinking 2 to 3 millimeters per year, which makes it to a couple of penny-widths yearly. In contrary this, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, and a huge part of San Bernardino County have been rising at the same rate.
The report’s lead author, Sam Howell, a doctoral candidate in geophysics at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, said that at the time of occurrence of a major event, all of that energy gets released.