A new NASA radar could help predict the timing of a mega-earthquake hitting Southern California, KTLA-TV reported.

Scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., have reportedly begun using a new radar to give them a 3-D close-up of the San Andreas Fault, a continental transform fault that stretches about 800 miles through California. The radar — attached to the bottom of a jet flying 45,000 feet over the state — is expected to measure exact surface elevations along the fault.

NASA's scientists say they will map the fault segment by segment, repeating the same radar observations in hopes of measuring deformations in the crust that might occur between observations, according to the station.

Through the new radar project, scientists expect to to detect slow surface deformations involved in the buildup and release of strain along earthquake faults, KTLA reported.

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