Swarm of small quakes rattles Imperial County

Earthquakes

SAN DIEGO – A series of small earthquakes in Imperial County has scientists keeping a close eye on what could come next.

“We are concerned about this one … because it’s … near the San Andreas fault,” said SDSU professor and geologist Pat Abbott.

Abbott says a swarm, or series, of over a dozen small earthquakes happened near the Salton Sea early Monday.

“There’s always a possibility of one thing leading to another,” Abbott said.

The Salton Sea sits just underneath the southern end of the San Andreas fault line. From a historical standpoint, that part of the fault line hasn’t had an earthquake since the late 1690s. Some would argue we may be due.

“If it moves, it will go all the way up to San Bernardino,” Abbott said. “That would be a 7.1 and what that would mean is San Diego is moving northward.”

On July 4, 2019, a 6.4-magnitude earthquake hit the town of Ridgecrest, northeast of Los Angeles. Less than 36 hours later, a 7.1-magnitude quake followed. Abbot said most aftershocks happen within 72 hours. However, in this instance, he said he doesn’t think a big one is likely.

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