SIMI VALLEY : Study Cites Quake Risk From Loose Soil

Simi Valley homes near the city's flood channel could be at high risk for damage in a major earthquake because they sit on loosely packed soil that is prone to shifting, according to a study released Wednesday.

The study, conducted by Fugro-McClelland of Ventura, confirms the findings of a report issued last year on surface soil by the California Department of Mines and Geology.

But Fugro's study went a step further, boring deep into the ground to discover that shifting sand and clay are also a problem well below the surface.

The study focused on two areas of the city: the Texas tract on the east end of town, and a 10-block area south of Los Angeles Avenue, stretching from Christine Avenue west to the railroad tracks.

The study found that in a major earthquake, the soil along the Arroyo Simi would liquefy, subjecting houses to serious damage.

Fugro Vice President Thomas F. Blake presented his findings to an audience of more than 150 concerned homeowners assembled at the Simi Valley Senior Center on Wednesday evening.

The study was commissioned by the city last December in response to pressure from residents whose homes were damaged in the Northridge earthquake.

Blake said the only way to prevent liquefaction from occurring would be to lift each of the homes on the area and repack the soil--a costly, time-consuming and intrusive measure.

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