LA may have missed signs of earthquake fault under Hollywood project

Nov. 22, 2013 at 4:11 PM
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LOS ANGELES, Nov. 22 (UPI) -- Los Angeles officials missed signs of an earthquake fault in Hollywood beneath a $200 million development now under construction, experts say.

Reports written by a geotechnical engineering consultant hired by the developer of residential and commercial center said groundwater levels varied by as much as 30 feet below the property -- generally considered a strong indicator of an earthquake fault.

The report was filed with the city, but its Department of Building and Safety did not raise concerns about an earthquake fault when it reviewed and approved the report in 2007, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

The department declined to order any in-depth seismic studies, the newspaper said.

The uneven groundwater levels cited in the report suggests that the project might be sitting on top of the Hollywood fault, which is capable of producing a devastating 7.0 earthquake, scientists said.

"One of the most common indicators of the existence of a fault is the presence of an offset groundwater table," California state geologist John Parrish said. "It can be logically construed that the break in groundwater table elevations is because of the presence of a fault."

A spokesman for the Department of Building and Safety told the Times the agency still believes a seismic study was unnecessary.

"We agree that variations in groundwater levels are sometimes the result of faulting," Luke Zamperini said.

However, the agency determined the development, known as Blvd6200, was far enough away from the Hollywood fault that a fault study was not necessary, he said.

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