When you live in California, you get used to earthquakes, or at least learn to hone your denial skills. When a quake happens, you often hear that the quake was located "on a previously unknown fault", at which point you chuckle grimly and crank up the denial just a bit more.
Despite 21 years of living in California, I still found this article kind of shocking:
A new study of the rock below west Santa Clara Valley has revealed a possible active fault zone between Campbell and San Jose, scientists reported Wednesday.
They have not mapped the full extent of the fault zone and do not know if it is dangerous. All they have is a single slice through the fault -- a cross section -- that does not go all the way down to the depths where earthquakes originate.
However, this area has been peppered with small, mostly imperceptible earthquakes, indicating that the fault is active, said geophysicist Rufus Catchings of the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, who led the study.
"It's relatively small seismicity. It's nothing huge," he said. "But we don't know what it's capable of, because we don't know the extent of these things."
The article was printed with a map (which is not available online) showing the new fault running right through my neighborhood. Whee.