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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The backdrop: Trump's announcement came as police clashed with protesters just outside of the White House, using tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse crowds chanting, "Hands up, don't shoot," and other slogans. Flash bangs used outside the White House could be heard from the Rose Garden.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Autopsies say George Floyd's death was homicide

Police watch as demonstrators block a roadway while protesting the death of George Floyd in Miami. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Preliminary results from an independent autopsy commissioned by George Floyd's family found that his death in the custody of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was "homicide caused by asphyxia due to neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain," according to a statement from the family's attorney.

The latest: An updated official autopsy released by the Hennepin County medical examiner also determined that the manner of Floyd's death was "homicide," ruling it was caused by "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdued, restraint, and neck compression."