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Breakthroughs in Science

Neighboring fault a bad influence; College of Science’s Chris Goldfinger a good influence

April 17th, 2008

Geologists: Neighboring fault a bad influence (Inside Bay Area)

In what may be a dangerous example of keeping up with the Joneses, the San Andreas fault appears to be taking cues from a deadly neighboring fault zone offshore near Oregon and Washington. By searching for evidence of underwater sand deposits caused by major earthquakes to the north and comparing the timing to earthquakes on the San Andreas, geologists at Oregon State University and University of California, Berkeley, found a correlation between 13 quakes over the last 3,000 years. “It’s either an amazing coincidence or one fault triggered the other,” Chris Goldfinger of Oregon State University, and an author of the study, said in a news release Tuesday. “It looks like when Cascadia is hit by a major earthquake, another will occur in the San Andreas region — on average, within several decades, but possibly less.”

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