Concern as California hit by cluster of minor earthquakes

Pablo Tucker
October 2, 2016

Southern California residents are on "heightened alert" for the possibility of a major natural disaster.

A series of quakes under the Salton Sea may be a signal that the San Andreas Fault is on the verge of buckling.

Seismologists upped the odds of a major event after a quake "swarm" hit near Bombay Beach on Monday and continued during the week. "There is between a.006 to 0.2 percent probability of a magnitude 7.0 quake along the San Andreas fault between now and October 7, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) estimates, with the odds decreasing with time".

The tremors in the Salton Sea area slightly increased the chance of a quake as large as a magnitude of 5 for the next four days. That heightened probability will last through Tuesday with the odds decreasing over time.

The region is long overdue as usually a big quake takes place in the area once every 150 or 200 years.

The San Andreas Fault isn't just an action movie plot device, it is alive and active fault line in southern California and many scientists believe that it is about to rupture.

"Each quake is a little change in stress, and that's a little poke on all the faults around it, and we've got this really big cat there that at some point is going to be pushed over the cliff". Estimates developed through the California Shakeout scenarios predict that approximately 1,800 people would die in a major natural disaster, matched with 50,000 injuries and more than $200 billion in damage. "So maybe one of those small earthquakes that's happening in the neighborhood of the fault is going to trigger it, and set off the big event". The "swarm", as it's being called, is one of only three in recorded history at the area, lasting much of the week.

The advisory includes Imperial, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Orange, Ventura, Riverside and Kern counties. The science of natural disaster prediction is still very much in its infancy, and these models are very likely crunching away with insufficient data.

USGS warns a magnitude of 7 or more could hit the region in about next seven days. "We must always be prepared and not let our guard down".

Californians have long feared "the big one", a natural disaster so devastating it separates the state from the rest of the country and while that might be a scenario out of a Hollywood movie a large tremor could seriously damage the state.

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