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A five-man scientific team, diving in Point Mugu Submarine Canyon, the center of the February 21 earthquake that shook much of Ventura and Los Angeles counties, found a number of unexplained craters in the steep slopes of the underwater canyon. The team of experienced geologists and oceanographers could not see any massive sea floor slumping as they had expected to find. Nor could they see an actual rupture along the Sycamore fault to which the earthquake was generally attributed.

Carl Carlson, marine geologist with the Marine Services Group of Dames & Moore, organized the expedition within 48 hours after the temblor. ‘From a scientific point of view, this was an especially interesting mission because of the steep topography that exists essentially at the earthquake epicenter,’ Carlson said. ‘Also, proximity of the epicenter to the coast gave us an opportunity to observe the site in detail soon after the shake and before the sea floor was disturbed by currents or wave action.’