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Southern California overdue for 'The Big One'

LOS ANGELES — Southern California is overdue for a major earthquake along the San Andreas fault, according to a study released Friday.

The long-awaited study came after scientists spent years studying the geology of the Carrizo Plain area of the San Andreas, which is about 100 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

The last massive earthquake on that part of the fault occurred in 1857. But researchers found that earthquakes have occurred as often as every 45 to 144 years.

That would make the region overdue for the type of catastrophic quake often referred to as "The Big One."

The finding adds weight to the view of many Southern California seismologists that the San Andreas has been in a quiet period and that a major rupture is possible.

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