Scientists discover new California quake fault that could burst dam and drown thousands

A new earthquake-producing fault has been discovered in California – to the surprise of scientists who thought they had found all of the state’s seismic danger spots.

The Polaris line, at only 22 miles long, is a dwarf compared to the San Andreas Fault, which stretches 800 miles and has triggered some of the world’s biggest tremors.

But, worryingly, it could be powerful enough to cause an earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter Scale and flood a valley by smashing a dam.

It was a 7.0-magnitude quake that devastated Haiti last year, killing 222,000 people to date.

If it broke, the Martis Creek Dam has the potential to deluge the homes of 16,000 people in nearby Truckee and flood waters could travel 35 miles to Reno, Nevada, where 220,000 people live.

Experts already knew of two faults near the structure, which is one of 10 American dams classified as having ‘urgent and compelling’ safety concerns.

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