Anytime the Earth shocks in California, residents can’t help but wonder: Is this the big guy?
The swarm of earthquakes on Monday, which included 4.0 degrees near Englewood, did little to calm those nerves. Experts say panic isn’t necessary, but being prepared never hurts. Here’s what we know about the latest Los Angeles earthquakes.
They came in a block.
The first rattles started at 4:15 a.m., when three prowl tremors struck near Englewood: a magnitude of 2.1, magnitude 2.4, and magnitude 3.0 on the Richter scale, all about three miles apart, according to the US Geological Survey.
The largest earthquake with a magnitude of 4.0 occurred near Englewood at 4:44 am and was felt by residents of Southern California. Nearby residents described strong tremors, with some books and picture frames falling from shelves reported.
There were aftershocks.
Within 24 hours, more than 80 aftershocks shook the Inglewood and Linux region, according to the US Geological Survey. Although this sounds like a lot, it is nothing to worry about, said geophysicist Don Blackman of the USGS National Seismological Information Center in Colorado.
“He’s not flying a red flag,” Blackman said. “It is not uncommon for there to be a swarm of earthquakes, and nearly all of them will be small.”
The larger the earthquake, the longer its aftershocks will last, Blackman said. The magnitude 7.1 Ridgecrest earthquake in 2019 is still producing aftershocks.
The majority of aftershocks in the Inglewood region to date have a magnitude of less than 2.0.
“A swarm like this doesn’t necessarily indicate something big and frightening is going on,” Blackman said, “but there is always a very small chance that we cannot actually expect earthquakes.” “We cannot tell you for sure what will happen.”
They were deeper than usual.
The main shock was “too deep for the state of California,” about 12 miles away, said Paul Caruso, a geophysicist with the USGS National Seismic Information Center.
Caruso said earthquakes in the Los Angeles area are about three miles deep. But 12 miles is far from the depth. Earthquakes in Fiji and elsewhere can reach depths of 300 miles.
“The deeper the earthquake, the less people feel it, because the more likely they are to be from where the energy is released,” said Caruso.
They might not have been much wrong.
Shortly after the tremor, seismologist Lucy Jones said on Twitter that the 4.0 earthquake may not have been due to a particular fault because it had a propulsion mechanism.
Robert Graves, a research geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Center for Seismology, based in Pasadena, explained that the Newport-Inglewood Fault, closest to Monday’s earthquake, is a sliding fault, which means the two sides are moving sideways during the earthquake. This earthquake had a thrust mechanism, which occurs when one slice of the fault slides over the other.
Graves said: “Based on that, although it was in close proximity to the Newport – Englewood fault, it appears that it was likely on a sub-fault structure, or some kind of secondary fault structure.”
One helpful way to think about it is a crack in the windshield of your car.
Graves said, “There may be one major major crack, but there may be a few minor cracks here and there, and that’s the kind of fault that this fault is likely to be.”
They may have disturbed your pets.
Animals can sometimes feel when the vibration is about to occur. The first waves that arrive from an earthquake, the P-waves, are the fastest. It is the next S-waves that bring on the vibration.
This may explain why some animals – and humans – feel there is a bug just before the crackle starts.
“Sometimes what happens, especially with dogs, is that the first P wave is very weak but can be felt sometimes,” Blackman said. “Then what you actually think is that an earthquake is the next series of waves that arrive.”
It’s a reminder to stay prepared.
Even if you never felt that small earthquake, you never know when it will hit the Big One.
Prepare by following our five-step earthquake preparedness guide and building an emergency kit.
“It appears to be a broken record, but it is real,” said Graves. “Take this as a reminder that there are active faults, and great earthquakes will happen. Be prepared.”
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