San Andreas Fault Earthquake Swarm Has Many Fearing “The Big One” Is Imminent
Fresh fears have been raised that a huge earthquake is about to hit California after a swarm of recent tremors.
In the last week 134 earthquakes have hammered a three-mile stretch around Monterey County on the San Andreas fault.
Of those earthquakes, 17 were stronger than 2.5 magnitude and six of them were stronger than 3.0, with more tremors expected in the coming weeks, experts warn.
It follows fears raised last week that the ‘Big One’ is about to hit after a series of ten ‘mini quakes’ struck the same area.
The swarm included one 4.6-magnitude quake that was felt in San Francisco more than 90 miles (145 km) away.
‘This one has been a quite productive aftershock sequence,’ said Ole Kaven, a US Geological Survey (USGS) seismologist.
‘We suspect there will be aftershocks in the 2 to 3 [magnitude] range for at least a few more weeks’, he said.
There have not been any reports of injuries, writes San Francisco news outlet SFGate.
Last week’s swarm hit California’s Monterey County on Monday at 11:31am ET (4:31pm GMT) about 13 miles (20 km) northeast of Gonzales, near Salinas.
It dramatically increases the likelihood of a major quake in California, at least temporarily, experts claimed.
The initial 4.6-magnitude quake was followed by nine smaller aftershocks.
The largest of these measured magnitude 2.8, Annemarie Baltay, a seismologist with the US Geological Survey in Menlo Park, told SFGATE.
There were no reports of injuries or damage to buildings.
The quake happened at a depth of around 4 miles (6.5 km) on the infamous San Andreas Fault, close to a region where the Calaveras Fault branches off.
Experts have previously warned that any activity on the fault line is cause for concern.
‘Because we recognise that the probability of having a large earthquake goes up.’
Despite this, Ms Baltay said the recent quakes are part of normal seismic activity and that there was no suggestion the tremors were signs of larger activity to come.
‘This is really typical behaviour,’ she said.
‘It’s as if someone put an oil can into the fault and lubricated it.’
Fears of California’s ‘Big One’ were stirred in May when an expert warned that a destructive earthquake will hit the state ‘imminently’.
Seismologist Dr Lucy Jones, from the US Geological Survey, warned in a dramatic speech that people need to act to protect themselves rather than ignoring the threat.
Dr Jones said people’s decision not to accept it will only mean more suffer as scientists warn the ‘Big One’ is now overdue to hit California.
In a keynote speech to a meeting of the Japan Geoscience Union and American Geophysical Union, Dr Jones warned that the public are yet to accept the randomness of future earthquakes.
People tend to focus on earthquakes happening in the next 30 years but they should be preparing now, she warned.
Her team published a scenario of a 7.8 earthquake on the San Andreas fault that could kill many people and devastate 15,000 buildings.
In 2011 a magnitude nine earthquake hit the east coast of Japan, killing around 20,000 people.
‘The city leaders ignored protocol that said to move to higher ground and conducted their emergency meeting in the city hall’, said Dr Jones.
‘When the tsunami poured over the sea wall, they lost over 1,000 people, including most of their city government’.
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
November 24th, 2017
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