More small quakes rattle area near Salton Sea

NILAND, Calif. -- Another series of small earthquakes struck near the Salton Sea area overnight Monday in the same general area hit by hundreds of small quakes last month.

Nearly 20 weak earthquakes — the strongest measuring magnitude 3.3, with others much smaller — were centered near the town of Niland just to the east of the Salton Sea, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. A magnitude 3.6 quake was recorded near Salton City on the west side of the Salton Sea.

In September, a series of more than 200 small quakes hit the area. That prompted scientists to say for several days that there was an elevated risk for a big San Andreas fault earthquake. Many of the minor quakes were located under the sea itself.

The Salton Sea is one of California’s most seismically complex areas. It is located on a web of faults that scientists fear could one day could cause the nearby  San Andreas fault to unleash a powerful temblor.