New Earthquake Swarm May Be Linked to San Andreas Fault
A recent swarm of small earthquakes close to the Mexican border in California has seismologists concerned about its effects on the San Andreas fault … and if this particular swarm could increase the chances of a larger event occurring on that fault line.
On Monday, a 4.6 magnitude earthquake was detected under the southeastern part of the Salton Sea at 8:56 AM. It was part of an ongoing series that started around 6:33 AM with a 3.2 earthquake.
What makes this earthquake swarm unique is that this is only the fourth time an earthquake swarm has occurred in this region of California over the last 88 years (since researches started keeping records).
An earthquake has not occurred on the San Andreas southern stretch since 1680. While on average, the San Andreas fault has produced large earthquakes every 250 years.
Under normal circumstances, seismologists estimate that there’s a 20% chance a 7-magnitude earthquake could occur along the San Andreas fault over the next 30 years.
However, it has been shown that earthquake swarms can increase the chances of a large earthquake occurring along an affected fault. Which is why many seismologists are concerned this recent swarm could trigger more volatile activity along the San Andreas fault line.
For example, in any given week there’s roughly a 1 in 10,000 chance of a large earthquake occurring along the San Andreas fault. And after the USGS’s calculations from Monday’s earthquake swarm, that chance is now a 1 in 100.
“[It] does increase the chance of a big earthquake on the San Andreas somewhat,” USGS research geophysicist Morgan Page told the L.A. Times. “So it’s definitely something to watch.”
In fact, in 2016 a similar warning from the US Geological Survey promoted San Bernardino officials to close their City Hall for two days out of extreme precaution. However, a larger quake never occurred.
While similar earthquake swarms have not produced the dreaded “Big One,” researchers are still concerned about the increase in seismic activity.
“Every time it happens, we do worry that this could be the time that it triggers something,” Page added.
Luckily, Monday’s earthquake swarm appears further away than the one that occurred in 2016, which decreases the likelihood that it could trigger something larger on the San Andreas fault.
“So this is probably too far away,” seismologist Lucy Jones said of the likelihood that the event could spark a much larger one on the San Andreas. “It’s not so much too far away that you say it’s impossible. But probably too far away.”
For now, seismologists will be monitoring the earthquake swarm … since the situation could become a lot more worrisome if the swarm starts moving north, closer to the San Andreas fault.
If you live in Los Angeles, you know it’s only a matter of time before the “Big One” strikes. As a resident, it’s crucial to take all of the safety precautions in protecting your loved ones and your home from earthquake damage and destruction.
At Julian Construction, we’ll conduct a free home inspection for you, complete with a quote for repair.
We have extensive experience serving our Los Angeles community and nearby regions. In fact, Julian Construction has inspected over 30,000 structures in the area!
Julian Construction was formed in 1994 and our focus has always been on building foundations, doing foundation repair and replacement, earthquake retrofitting, and house leveling.
When you work with Julian Construction, you get the principles of the company and the workers of Julian Construction under your home.
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Give us a call at call (323) 733-3377 to schedule your free inspection or complete the inspection request form.