SALTON SEA IS SWARMING WITH DATA ONEARTHQUAKE BEHAVIOR AFTERSHOCKS UNDER WATCH
Nearly 200 earthquakes stir concern.San Bernardino County officials and scientist arekeeping a close eye on earthquake activity near the SaltonSea, where almost 200 small aftershocks have hit the area
since Tuesday’s March 24
4.8 magnitude temblor.The 4:55 a.m. quake centered in an ImperialCounty community called Bombay Beach shook near asection of the San Andreas Fault that has not broken loose inmore than 300 years. It jolted areas as far away as PalmSprings and Hemet.
It’s one of the great mysteries of
Southern California seismology. Every couple of years, theremote desert area around the Salton Sea is shaken byswarms of small to moderate earthquakes that often lastseveral days.The swarms returned this week, with the arearecording more than 200 temblors since Saturday March 21
including several that were felt Wednesday. But this time,scientists had sophisticated instruments in the ground torecord the activity, helping them to better understand theswarms and how they can affect seismic risk elsewhere.Scientists have noticed that the quakes appear to have a
pattern, moving southeast as the day’s progress. But a
bigger question remains: Can the quakes trigger larger andpotentially more destructive quakes along the San AndreasFault, which terminates at the shore of the Salton Sea? A creep meter on the San Andreas Fault just north of the Salton Sea area, operated by the University of Colorado,found a 0.002 inch slip on the fault right after the largestearthquake in the swarm - a magnitude 4.8 on Tuesday.
helps to prepare yourself and your
family as much as possible,” said Megan Blaney,
spokeswomen for the county Fire Department Office of Emergency Services.The county received information from theCalifornia Earthquake Prediction Evaluation Council thatthere is a 1 percent to 5 percent chance of a 7.0 magnitude orgreater earthquake on the San Andreas Fault over the nextfew days.Of the dozen of aftershocks, about 10 measured at3.0 or higher, including a 3.7 at 12:59 p.m. and a 3.6 at 12:51a.m. on Wednesday March 25
. In 1967, a 6.2 magnitudequake caused a 6.0 in the Imperial Valley, said Caltechseismologist Kate Hutton.
But, she said, it’s hard to know what these smaller
earthquakes will do.
“We really don’t know how to estimate
lity,” she said. “It’s a significant chance, butit’s not a huge chance.”
San Bernardino County of Emergency Servicesofficials urged residents to use the opportunity to makepreparations such as assembling emergency supplies andformulating a family disaster plan.
“Ideally, people will have an emergency supply kit
at home, in the car and the office because no one knows
when or where the disaster is going to hit,” Blaney said.
County officials recommended keeping three days of foodand water, along with other items such as first-aid kits andflashlights with the batteries.