Monday 23 September 2013

Magnitude 2.6 Earthquake in Kern County, California.

The United States Geological Survey recorded a Magnitude 2.6 Earthquake at a depth of 10.3 km near Lake Isabella in Kern County, California, approximately 59 km northeast of Bakersfield, slightly after 11.20 am local time (slightly after 6.20 pm GMT) on Saturday 22 September 2013. A quake this size is unlikely to cause any damage or casualties, though this one was felt locally.

The approximate location of the 22 September Lake Isabella Earthquake. Google Maps.

California is extremely prone to Earthquakes due to the presence of the San Andreas Fault, a tectonic plate margin that effectively bisects the state. The west of California, including Santa Barbara and Los Angeles, is located on the Pacific Plate, and is moving to the northwest. The east of California, including Fresno and Bakersfield is on the North American Plate, and is moving to the southeast. The plates do not move smoothly past one-another, but constantly stick together then break apart as the pressure builds up. This has led to a network of smaller faults that criss-cross the state, so that Earthquakes can effectively occur anywhere.

Witness accounts of Earthquakes can help geologists to understand these events and the underlying structures that cause them. If you felt this quake (or if you were in the area but did not, which is also useful information) then you can report it to the United States Geological Survey here.

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