CALIFORNIA has been rocked by 307 earthquakes in the last 24 hours, all along the San Andreas Fault. Here is the latest information on those quakes.
California has been hit by 351 earthquakes in the past 24 hours, along the San Andreas Fault line. Of these quakes, 15 were a magnitude of 2.5 or higher – with the highest being 3.9. This stuck 9 km east-northeast of Coso Junction, California.
The next largest measured at magnitude-3.8 and was located 21km east-southeast of Little Lake, California.
The last major earthquake to strike California hit in the city of Ridgecrest on July 4, 2019, measuring magnitude-6.4, and was followed by more than 150 aftershocks – one of which measured magnitude 7.1.
At 7.1, this quake was the largest to hit southern California since 1999.
The San Andreas fault often triggers large earthquakes, as tectonic plates move against one another.
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These are the Pacific and North American plates, and the former is moving northwest, scraping horizontally against the latter.
This is happening at a rate of about two inches a year.
Approximately two-thirds of this movement takes place on the San Andreas fault, triggering earthquakes of varying magnitudes.
California is also a part of the explosive Ring of Fire, a horseshoe-shaped area, where the world’s most active volcanoes and where the most earthquakes occur.
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The area spans along a 25,000-mile arc reaching from the boundary of the Pacific Plate, along to the Cocos and Nazca Plates which are along the edge of the Pacific Ocean.
Around 90 percent of the world’s earthquakes, and 81 percent of the world’s largest earthquakes take place along the Ring of Fire.
Despite knowing this area is very active, seismologists cannot predict when or where earthquakes will strike.
Some experts believe there are specific factors which can induce earthquakes but this has not been proven by science.
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One of these factors includes hydraulic fracturing, where deep into the sea is drilled to extract energy resources
A recent study in Geophysical Research Letters has shown an increase in seismic activity in the weeks and days leading up to the majority of earthquakes.
This indicates that perhaps one day, foreshocks could be taken as early warning signs.
Wendy Bohon, a geologist at the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology who was not a part of the study said: “It’s very much a first step and big leap forward in improving our understanding of earthquake processes.”