"It's possible it connects up with the Hollywood fault, and that's what we'd really like to answer," Dawson said. The Hollywood fault runs along the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood and through the heart of downtown Hollywood.
The Santa Monica fault, along with offshore faults as well as the Hollywood fault and the Raymond fault, which extends east into Pasadena and the San Gabriel Valley, form a major tectonic boundary in Southern California between the Santa Monica Mountains to the north and the Los Angeles Basin to the south. It is possible that the Santa Monica, Hollywood and Raymond faults could rupture nearly simultaneously in the same earthquake.
If there's one silver lining, it is that the Santa Monica fault and its cousins, the Hollywood and the Raymond, move far more slowly than California's most famous fault, the San Andreas.
One side of the San Andreas is moving past the other at a rate of 25 to 34 millimeters a year, far faster than the Santa Monica-Hollywood-Raymond system, which is moving around 1 to 2 millimeters a year.
That means while the southern San Andreas fault is expected to have large earthquakes every 100 to 200 years or so, thousands of years could pass between large earthquakes on the Santa Monica fault.
(Los Angeles Times staff writer Roger Vincent contributed to this report.)
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