New data from state geologists show that an earthquake fault runs below Rodeo Drive and Beverly Hills' shopping district, heightening the known seismic risk in an area famous for boutiques selling luxury brands, it was reported Wednesday.
The California Geological Survey's final map has the Santa Monica fault zone cutting through the so-called Golden Triangle, running between Santa Monica and Wilshire boulevards, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The new map is a change from a draft version released last year that showed the fault zone ending on the western edge of Beverly Hills, near the corner of Wilshire and Santa Monica boulevards. Based on more information, the state now says the fault zone extends a mile farther northeast through Beverly Hills' central district and into the city's civic center area.
The Santa Monica fault is one of several running through highly populated areas of Southern California, drawing interest and concern from seismic experts and government officials. The fault zone cuts through the heart of the Westside, straddling or paralleling Santa Monica Boulevard through Century City and Westwood before veering due west, with segments running into Brentwood, Santa Monica and Pacific Palisades, The Times reported.
It's capable of producing a magnitude 7 earthquake. Experts believe the most recent earthquake on the Santa Monica fault occurred 1,000 to 3,000 years ago, according to the newspaper.
Areas with fault zones face limits on development. Owners of properties in these zones are obligated to hire geologists to ensure that new buildings or major renovation projects aren't located directly on an active fault line.
Earthquake Zones of Beverly Hills Quadrangle
Earthquake Fault Zones: Zone boundaries are delineated by straight-line segments; the boundaries define the zone encompassing active faults that constitute a potential hazard to structures from surface faulting or fault creep such that avoidance as described in Public Resources Code Section 2621.5(a) would be required.
Liquefaction Zones: Areas where historical occurrence of liquefaction, or local geological, geotechnical and ground water conditions indicate a potential for permanent ground displacements such that mitigation as defined in Public Resources Code Section 2693(c) would be required.
Earthquake-Induced Landslide Zones: Areas where previous occurrence of landslide movement, or local topographic, geological, geotechnical and subsurface water conditions indicate a potential for permanent ground displacements such that mitigation as defined in Public Resources Code Section 2693(c) would be required.
Source: California Geological Survey
The Beverly Hills shopping district has some of the priciest retail real estate in the nation, but the area is already fairly developed, with a mix of shops and mid-rise office buildings, The Times reported. It's unclear whether there are any major developments that haven't yet been approved by local governments that are on the drawing board in the fault zone.