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Geologists say Hollywood project may sit on quake fault

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A geological report suggests a $200 million residential and commercial development now under construction in Hollywood might be located above an earthquake fault that scientists say could produce a magnitude-7.0 earthquake.

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By The Los Angeles Times
Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, 8:06 p.m.
 

LOS ANGELES — City officials missed signs in a geological report that suggest a $200 million residential and commercial development under construction in Hollywood might be above an earthquake fault, according to city records and interviews.

The information was contained in reports written by a geotechnical engineering consultant hired by the developer of the Blvd6200 project and filed with the city. The report, obtained by the Los Angeles Times under the California Public Records Act, said groundwater levels varied by as much as 30 feet below the property.

Geologists generally consider uneven groundwater levels in California a strong indicator of an earthquake fault.

The city Department of Building and Safety did not raise concerns about an earthquake fault when it reviewed and approved the report in 2007 without requiring any in-depth seismic study.

California state geologist John Parrish said the uneven groundwater cited in the report suggests that the project could sit on top of the Hollywood fault, which is capable of producing a devastating 7.0 earthquake.

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

The Hollywood fault has been known for decades. But California geologists have not yet formally certified it as a fault zone, and the law is not in force in Hollywood until they do.

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