Anza Gap: Earthquake risk elevated with detection of spontaneous tectonic tremor

Scientists at the University of California, Riverside have detected spontaneous tectonic tremor –  a signature of slow earthquakes deep below the earth’ surface – in the Anza Gap region of the San Jacinto Fault. Tectonic tremors are believed to increase the likelihood of a moderate to large, damaging earthquake occurring close to the earth’ surface by altering the stress along the fault.

The San Jacinto Fault zone, which is part of the San Andreas Fault system, runs underneath densely populated areas of Inland Southern California, including San Bernardino, Redlands, and Moreno Valley. It is the most active fault in Southern California and sits five miles from the University of California (UCR) campus. While it is technically not a plate boundary, the San Jacinto Fault accommodates some of the movement that occurs as the North American Plate and the Pacific Plate grind together at the San Andreas Fault.

Over the past 200 years, the 20-km (12.4 miles) region known as the Anza Gap is the only stretch along the 200-km (124 miles) fault line that has not experienced an earthquake of magnitude 5.5 or greater.


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