Oct 17, 2019

California fault capable of 8.0 earthquake shows movement for first time

A photo of the San Andreas fault. Photo: Stocktrek/Getty Images

The 160-mile-long Garlock fault in California has shown movement for the first time on the modern historical record, according to a study published Thursday by the California Institute of Technology.

Why it matters: The fault is capable of producing an 8.0 magnitude earthquake, but it has never previously produced a strong quake or creep. Now, satellite images show the fault has begun moving, resulting in a visible bulge. The movement is said to be a result of a July earthquake that destabilized surrounding faults.

  • "This is surprising, because we’ve never seen the Garlock fault do anything. Here, all of a sudden, it changed its behavior,” Zachary Ross, lead author of the study, told the Los Angeles Times.
  • A significant quake on the Garlock fault could spur strong effects throughout California, including in agricultural and oil-producing regions — as well as military sites.
  • It could also destabilize the San Andreas fault, risking extreme shakes and extensive potential damage.

The bottom line: Per the LA Times, "What’s unusual now, Ross said, is that the Garlock fault has been seismically quiet in the historical record until now. And while it’s unclear what the creeping and aftershocks might mean for the near future, the newly recorded movement highlights how much of a potential risk the Garlock fault is to California, should it rupture in a big way."

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California fire season could last until December

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California could continue to endure wildfires until December as a late start to the rainy season looks increasingly likely — particularly in the south of the state, the Southern California Geographic Area Coordination Center warns in a new report.

This may be a long fall and winter across California for both the fire-fighting community and the general public in terms of coping with the threat of fires."
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2 dead in Mexico's Baja California peninsula from wildfires

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At least 58,000 acres have burned in California from 14 ongoing fires, the earliest of which sparked in September, the Los Angeles Times reports. Five of those fires started Thursday, and one began Friday.

What's happening: The Kincade fire, which started Thursday and has already blazed through 21,900 acres — namely in Northern California’s wine country — is currently the largest fire in the state. 50,000 people near the Tick fire in Santa Clarita were ordered to evacuate on Friday, and California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in the counties affected by those two wildfires.

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Microsoft to apply California privacy rules to all users nationwide

Photo: Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

Microsoft said in a blog post Monday that it will apply the protections of a new California privacy law for all users in the U.S. The California Consumer Privacy Act was passed last year, but goes into effect Jan. 1.

Why it matters: The law allows consumers to require companies to disclose what data they are keeping on a consumer, and gives consumers the right to have such data be deleted. Also, starting next July, Californians will be allowed to sue businesses for certain data breaches.

Go deeperArrowNov 12, 2019