California's Danger After Recent Microquakes

Bridget Mulroy
California's Danger After Recent MicroquakesPhoto by(@lockon16/iStock)

Within the last day, USGS reports California having been rattled by 89 earthquakes, all of which were microquakes with magnitudes registering under 2.0. While this number may seem excessive, seismicity in California is quite common. Naturally, larger and more powerful earthquakes are what residents typically become stirred over, but microquakes are not to be underestimated or overlooked.

The strongest quakes today:

Magnitude 1.9 Earthquake Struck 13 km Northwest of Fillmore, California: On 4 September 2023 at 5:47 AM UTC, a magnitude 1.9 earthquake struck Fillmore, California, at a depth of 5.3 km.

Magnitude 1.9 Earthquake Struck 11 km Southeast of Pinnacles, California: On 4 September 2023 at 12:18 PM UTC, a magnitude 1.9 earthquake struck Pinnacles, California, at a depth of 7.2 km.

Magnitude 1.8 Earthquake Struck 10 km Southeast of Anza, California: On 3 September 2023 at 10:38 PM, a magnitude 1.8 earthquake struck Anza, California, at a depth of 8.5 km.

Magnitude 1.7 Earthquake Struck 7 km Northwest of The Geysers, California: On 4 September 2023 at 7:00 AM UTC, a magnitude 1.7 earthquake struck The Geysers, California, at a depth of 1.3 km.

Magnitude 1.7 Earthquake Struck 6 km North Northwest of Cholame, California: On 3 September 2023 at 8:48 PM UTC, a magnitude 1.7 earthquake struck Cholame, California, at a depth of 7.8 km.

California Earthquake Advisory states, “Earthquakes often trigger landslides, causing significant and even catastrophic damage to houses.” Microquakes combined with over-saturated land are a concern to Californians. Considering that one minor jolt is all it takes to wreak havoc and cause land to cascade down California’s hills, low levels of seismicity can be alarming if the conditions are met.

Microquakes have been proven to relieve pressure from the fault lines between tectonic plates, but the amount of pressure relieved will not offset ‘The Big One,’ or the next major seismic event. Since seismic activity is normal along the San Andreas Fault Line, microquakes are being monitored very closely. In a recent study, experts more thoroughly explored the region and the impact of the impending ‘Big One.’ Its mitigation can be credited to Lake Cahuilla’s water flow decrease from the Colorado River. When full, the lake is considered to have enough weight on the fault to diffuse the likelihood of a major earthquake hitting the region.

The San Andreas Fault is known as a strike-slip fault. It falls along a boundary where two tectonic plates slide against each other in opposite directions. The American Plate slides Southward, and the Pacific Plate slides Northward. The Pacific Plate slides at a much faster rate than the American Plate, and creates the friction discussed here. Seismic activity is usually more active on the Pacific Plate side of the fault line. California has nearly a hundred earthquakes daily – most are microquakes and not felt unless the person feeling it is directly over the epicenter.

The earthquakes mentioned here today have been documented by USGS, CalTech, EarthquakeTrack, Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, and other contributors within California’s extensive seismic research programs – all credible and globally recognized seismic activity monitoring systems. UTC is an abbreviation for Coordinated Universal Time. Anyone with the MyShake App was alerted for the following quakes. There is no need to panic since seismic activity along the San Andreas Fault Line is normal.

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Hi, I’m Bridget. I’m based in Red Bank, New Jersey, Calabasas, California, & Manhattan, New York. I cover geology, seismology, botany, biology, & community news. USGS Verified ✅

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