California was shaken by more than a dozen earthquakes overnight, with 13 quakes rattling the state in just 25 minutes.
The first earthquake occurred at 12:36 am, approximately two miles northwest of El Centro, a city in the Imperial Valley in the southern California border region. The series of quakes continued until 1:01 am when the 13th and final earthquake was recorded.
Residents of southern California were awoken by the sudden and frequent shaking of the ground. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) Shake Alert account posted on social media, “Good morning Southern California! Did you feel the magnitude 4.8 earthquake about two miles northwest of El Centro at 12:36 am? The #ShakeAlert system was activated.”
According to the National Weather Service’s San Diego office, the city of El Centro was the epicenter of the earthquakes. They reported, “Several small earthquakes have occurred in El Centro in the past 15 minutes. A couple of them were felt at our office. As of 12:53 am, there have been 13 earthquakes!”
The USGS’s Shake Alert system estimated that one of the earthquakes registered a magnitude above 5.0, which triggered alerts to cell phones. This rapid cluster of earthquakes came just two days after a 4.6 magnitude earthquake shook several miles northwest of Malibu on Friday. Fortunately, no major damage or injuries were reported from either earthquake.
Dr. Lucy Jones, a renowned California quake expert known as “the Beyoncé of Earthquakes”, told the news station KTLA that there is a 5% chance of a larger earthquake in southern California occurring soon after this series of earthquakes. However, she also stated that there is no connection between these earthquakes and the earlier 5.7 magnitude earthquake that shook the Big Island of Hawaii.
Despite the potential for a larger earthquake, it is important to note that predicting earthquakes is still a highly uncertain science. According to the USGS, “Neither the USGS nor Caltech nor any other scientists have ever predicted a major earthquake. They do not know how, and they do not expect to know how any time in the foreseeable future.”
California is known for its frequent earthquakes due to its location on the Pacific Ring of Fire, a region of high seismic and volcanic activity. It is estimated that approximately 10,000 earthquakes occur in California each year, but most of them are too small to be felt by humans.
Residents and officials in southern California should always be prepared for earthquakes and have an emergency plan in place. This includes having an earthquake kit with essentials such as food, water, and first aid supplies, as well as knowing safe spots in their homes and workplaces.
By staying prepared and informed, individuals can better protect themselves during a natural disaster like an earthquake.