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Quake, Tsunami Threat From Ventura Fault May Force Redraw Of Hazard Maps

VENTURA ( — Scientists say the earthquake fault that runs through the coastal city of Ventura can produce strong shaking and dangerous tsunamis, prompting state officials to study whether to revise hazard maps.

New research shows the Ventura fault is more dangerous than previously thought, capable of producing quakes as large as magnitude 8, the Los Angeles Times reported.

U.S. Geological Survey researcher Kate Scharer told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO a large quake on the Ventura fault could spawn a tsunami that begins in the Santa Barbara Channel and affects coastal communities to the south.

"If the fault that's offshore, if it ruptures and causes uplift of the ground surface underneath the ocean floor, then it can in fact produce a tsunami, and would basically move out toward the ocean, and then also waves that would propagate back up to toward land," Scharer said.

The California Geological Survey says it's studying whether to redraw tsunami hazard maps in light of the new information.

A major earthquake on the Ventura fault is estimated to occur every 400 to 2,400 years, according to the Associated Press. The last major quake hit about 800 years ago.

Experts say large quakes occur on the Ventura fault less frequently than on the San Andreas fault.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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