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Conventional bathymetry, sidescan-sonar and seismic-reflection data, and recent, multibeam surveys of large parts of the Southern California Borderland disclose the presence of numerous submarine landslides. Most of these features are fairly small, with lateral dimensions less than ~2 km. In areas where multibeam surveys are available, only two large landslide complexes were identified on the mainland slope— Goleta slide in Santa Barbara Channel and Palos Verdes debris avalanche on the San Pedro Escarpment south of Palos Verdes Peninsula. Both of these complexes indicate repeated recurrences of catastrophic slope failure. Recurrence intervals are not well constrained but appear to be in the range of 7500 years for the Goleta slide. The most recent major activity of the Palos Verdes debris avalanche occurred roughly 7500 years ago. A small failure deposit in Santa Barbara Channel, the Gaviota mudflow, was perhaps caused by an 1812 earthquake. Most landslides in this region are probably triggered by earthquakes, although the larger failures were likely conditioned by other factors, such as oversteepening, development of shelf-edge deltas, and high fluid pressures. If a subsequent future landslide were to occur in the area of these large landslide complexes, a tsunami would probably result. Runup distances of 10 m over a 30-km-long stretch of the Santa Barbara coastline are predicted for a recurrence of the Goleta slide, and a runup of 3 m over a comparable stretch of the Los Angeles coastline is modeled for the Palos Verdes debris avalanche.

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