Recent discovery along San Jacinto fault similar to an event before other powerful earthquakes

Slow slip preceded 9.0 Japan earthquake in 2011

Recent discovery along San Jacinto fault

"I hear people say it's not if, it's when," says one local resident. 

Could the big one be just around the corner?

"Near Anza Gap experts think Anza Gap is very close to producing a damaging earthquake," said Abhijit Ghosh,  a geophysicist at UC Riverside.

A breakthrough discovery by researchers at UC Riverside shows that the Anza Gap along the San Jacinto fault line is experiencing a seismic event known as slow slip

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"If the Anza Gap is slowly slipping underneath, then that means this is an additional way we are altering stress, meaning we are slow slip may be helping to cause that large earthquake," Ghosh said.

Slow slip is what preceded the massive 9.0 magnitude earthquake in Japan in 2011.

"We have seen many large damaging earthquakes around the world that are proceeded by such slow slip events," Ghosh said. "That doesn't mean that all slow slip will lead to a damaging earthquake, but it does mean that they talk to each other."

Local residents want to be prepared at home in case large earthquake hits.

"If you can imagine if we had a large earthquake in this valley, it would be a catastrophe because most people are not ready for this type of emergency," said a Palm Desert resident who has lived in the city since 1958.

However, researchers say they cannot predict exactly when an earthquake will occur.

"Because we think that Anza Gap may be ready for a damaging earthquake knowing that it is slowing slipping underneath, gives us a better idea of the seismic hazard," Ghosh said.

Professor Ghosh said the research continues to find a direct correlation between the slow slip and large earthquakes. 

You can get up to the minute earthquake updates on our KESQ weather app, just search KESQ First Alert available on the apple store or google play. 

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