Geothermal plants trigger small quakes near San Andreas fault

The geothermal power plants at Southern California's Salton Sea don't just produce electricity, they also trigger thousands of temblors not far from one of the West Coast's most dangerous earthquake faults, a new study says.

Research published online Thursday in the journal Science found that as production rose at the Imperial County geothermal field, so did the number of earthquakes. From 1981 through 2012, more than 10,000 earthquakes above magnitude 1.75 were recorded in the area.

"That group of earthquakes …. is connected to the production," said Emily Brodsky, a UC Santa Cruz geophysicist and the paper's lead author.

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