7.5 quake on California fault could be disastrous

LA HABRA, Calif. — Experts say a bigger earthquake along the lesser-known fault that gave Southern California a moderate shake could do more damage to the region than the long-dreaded “Big One” from the more famous San Andreas Fault.

The Puente Hills thrust fault, which brought Friday night’s magnitude-5.1 quake, stretches from northern Orange County under downtown Los Angeles into Hollywood — a heavily populated swath of the Los Angeles area.

Seismologists tell the Los Angeles Times that a magnitude-7.5 earthquake along that fault could prove more catastrophic than one along the San Andreas, which runs along the outskirts of metropolitan Southern California.

In 1987, the fault caused the Whittier Narrows earthquake. Still considered moderate at magnitude 5.9, that quake killed eight people and did more than $350 million in damage.

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