10/08/2010 03:28 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

San Andreas Fault Capable Of 8.1 Magnitude Earthquake

The "Big One" on the San Andreas fault just got a little bigger.

New research showing a section of the fault is long overdue for a major earthquake has some scientists saying that the fault is now capable of a magnitude 8.1 earthquake that could run 340 miles from Monterey County to the Salton Sea.

Whether such a quake would happen in our lifetime had been a subject of hot debate among scientists. That's because experts had believed that a major section of the southern San Andreas, which runs through the Carrizo Plain 100 miles northwest of Los Angeles, would remain dormant for at least another century.

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