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Caltech seismologist talks recent SoCal earthquakes

A Caltech seismologist looks at a series of recent earthquakes in Southern California, and what they mean for the region.
February 8, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
Several dots on maps at Caltech represent recent earthquakes in the Southern California area.

The needle on the Eyewitness News Quake Cam started jumping around 10:15 a.m. Saturday, when a 3.0-magnitude earthquake struck near the Hollywood area.

Rancho Cucamonga was shaken last week by a 3.1-magnitude quake, and a quake in Pine Mountain Club near Frazier Park registered 3.6.

Several smaller quakes have struck near Los Angeles in the last week and a half. Seismologists say it's not unusual.

"We do have these little clusters of earthquakes, so this is really kind of normal in the scheme of things," said Caltech seismologist Anthony Guarino. "It's the foreshock probability that some people worry about. Is this a foreshock to something larger? Is 'the big one' coming? Every earthquake has the possibility of generating a larger earthquake. It's about a 5 percent chance."

Tremors would rattle much of Southern California if a massive earthquake began along the southern portion of the San Andreas Fault. The area is overdue for a "big one."

"Each section in the San Andreas ruptures about every 150 years, and that southern section of the San Andreas hasn't ruptured in more than 300 years. So it's been about since the 1680s," said Guarino.

Experts say these small earthquakes should serve as a good reminder to be prepared with food, supplies and a plan of action in the event of a significant earthquake.

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