Ten Mini-Tremors Around San Andreas Fault Spark Earthquake Fears

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A series of 10 ‘mini-quakes’ hit the San Andreas fault yesterday, sparking fears a giant earthquake will hit California.

A string of 10 tremors struck Monterey County, a rural area in California, in what seismologists are calling a ‘swarm’ of earthquakes.

The tremors were so strong they reached up to a 4.6-magnitude and could be felt in San Francisco – more than 90 miles (145 km) away.

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The swarm hit California’s Monterey County on Monday at 11:31am ET (4:31pm GMT), about 13 miles northeast of Gonzales, near Salinas. The initial quake was followed by nine smaller aftershocks.

Steve Anderson, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Monterey said:

We felt it here. It lasted about five seconds. There was a little bump and then a rolling motion. One of my colleagues said it made him feel sea sick.

The largest of the aftershocks measured a magnitude of 2.8, Annemarie Baltay, a seismologist with the US Geological Survey in Menlo Park, told San Francisco news outlet SFGATE.

USGS/Google

While Baltay said there was no indication the tremor was a harbinger of a bigger earthquake, other experts have previously warned, any activity on the infamous San Andreas fault line is cause for concern.

Baltay added:

This is really typical behavior. It’s as if someone put an oil can into the fault and lubricated it.

USGS

However, the official US Geological Survey (USGS) forecast for California earthquakes now predicts a 16 per cent chance of an M7.5 quake or larger on this section of the fault within the next 30 years.

Thomas Jordan, director of the Southern California Earthquake Centre, told the LA Times:

Any time there is significant seismic activity in the vicinity of the San Andreas fault, we seismologists get nervous because we recognise the probability of having a large earthquake goes up.

NASA/JPL

The swarm dramatically increases the likelihood of a major quake in California, at least temporarily, experts claim.

There have been no reports of injuries or structural damage after the ten recent mini tremors.

Recently, fears were sparked over huge destruction in Mexico, after an 8.4 magnitude earthquake struck, which was felt 1,380 miles away in Austin, Texas, from the epicentre 76 miles from Pijijiapan, according to the US Geological Survey.

Witnesses said people were running out into the street as the quake struck and concerns of a possible tsunami meant fear levels reached fever pitch.

The epicentre was 76 miles southwest of Pijijiapan, at a depth of 33km and was felt throughout Mexico.

The US Tsunami Warning System, on September 8, said widespread hazardous tsunami waves were possible around the Pacific coast with Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Honduras and Ecuador in most danger.

Naturally, social media users took to Twitter to share their experiences of the quake:

More recently, in a long list of intense weather, Hurricane Irma became so strong it registered seismic activity on devices designed to pick up earthquakes.

The devices started picking up the activity when Irma rose to a Category 5 storm.

Donald Trump declared states of emergency in Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, as the storm devastated residents.


Francesca Donovan

Francesca Donovan

A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you've never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.