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Research Shows San Andreas Fault May Be Overdue For Large Earthquake

SALTON CITY, CA - JULY 7: Dead palm trees stand at a former yacht club on the shore of the Salton Sea, the biggest lake in California, which has dried up and refilled numerous times, on July 7, 2011 in Salton City, California. Scientists have discovered that human-created changes effecting the Salton Sea appear to be the reason why California's massive "Big One" earthquake is more than 100 years overdue and building up for the greatest disaster ever to hit Los Angeles and Southern California. Researchers found that strands of the San Andreas Fault under the 45-mile long rift lake have have generated at least five 7.0 or larger quakes about every 180 years. This ended in the early 20th century when authorities stopped massive amounts of Colorado River water from periodically flooding the into this sub-sea level desert basin. Such floods used to regularly trigger major quakes and relieve building seismic pressure but the last big earthquake on the southern San Andreas was about 325 years ago. Dangerous new fault branches that could trigger a 7.8 quake have recently been discovered under the Salton Sea. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

Disappearing Salton Sea

Once-bustling marinas on shallow water in California's largest lake a few years ago are bone-dry. Carcasses of oxygen-starved tilapia lie on desolate shores. Flocks of eared grebes and shoreline birds bob up and down to feast on marine life.

An air of decline and strange beauty permeates the Salton Sea: The lake is shrinking — and on the verge of getting much smaller as more water goes to coastal cities. (AP)

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