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The San Andreas Fault might be California's most known fault line, but maybe not its most destructive

Recently, many faults have been discovered in the Sierra and Southern Cascades, an area active with smaller earthquakes and swarms over the last 150 years.
Credit: KXTV

MARKLEEVILLE, Calif. — California is well known for its active earthquakes, with many cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco experiencing large quakes.

The San Andreas Fault, which moves south to north, is the cause for most of this damage and gets the most focus. There is, however, another area that has a lot of past earthquake activity and potential for more in the future. 

The San Andreas begins near the Salton Sea and moves north though Southern California and Los Angeles. Near Ventura County and Santa Barbara, the fault makes a slight deviation with a more east and west angle near the mountains in Santa Barbara, sometimes called the Transverse Range because of its different orientation from the north and south Coastal Range and Sierra Nevada.

That deviation before the San Andreas continues in a more north and south direction is a pressure point. At the junction where it deviates, there have been a number of recent earthquakes, in Ridgecrest and a large earthquake many years ago on the Garlock Fault

Recently, many faults have been discovered in the Sierra and Southern Cascades. This area on the eastside of the Sierra and Lake Tahoe has been active with many smaller earthquakes and swarms over the last 150 years.  

Thursday’s 6.0 earthquake near Markleeville is a good reminder the activity of the area, which has a high likelihood of moderate to strong earthquakes.

Another sign of an active geologic area is the number of hot springs and volcanoes. Lassen Peak had a series of major eruptions in the 1910s and remains dormant for now. Some recent studies have placed the Mammoth Lakes area, Lassen, and Mt. Shasta zones as potentially active volcanic regions again in the future. 

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