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Earthquake Fault Long Thought Dormant Could Devastate L.A., Researchers Say

LOS ANGELES -- Scientists citing new research say an earthquake fault beneath the city of Los Angeles, previously believed to be dormant, is active and could cause a destructive 6.4 magnitude earthquake if it ruptured.

And if it linked with other faults, it could trigger an earthquake in the magnitude 7 range, according to a team of researchers from Harvard, USC and the U.S. Geological Survey.

The fault, known as the Wilmington Blind-Thrust fault, stretches for about 12.5 miles, running northwest from Huntington Beach, directly beneath the Los Angeles and Long Beach harbors, past the east side of the Palos Verdes Peninsula and out toward Santa Monica Bay.

Researchers have known for decades that the fault existed, but it was long thought to be dormant and therefore of no concern for the residents of Los Angeles.

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