Wednesday 23 October 2013

Magnitude 6.5 Earthquake beneath the Gulf of California.

The United States Geological Survey recorded a Magnitude 6.5 Earthquake at a depth of 8 km beneath the Gulf of California, roughly 75 km off the coast of Sonora State, Mexico, slightly before 10.55 am local time (slightly before 5.55 pm GMT) on Saturday 19 October 2013. Although this was a large, shallow quake, and therefore potentially dangerous, it occurred some distance offshore, and while there are reports of it being felt over a wide area of Baja California Sur, Sonora and Sinaloa states, there are no reports of any damage or injuries arising from this event.

The approximate location of the 19 October 2013 Gulf of California Earthquake. Google Maps.

The boundary between the Pacific and North American Plates runs beneath the Gulf of California, with Beja California lying on the Pacific Plate and the Mexican mainland on the North American. The Pacific Plate is moving northwest with regard to the North American Plate, while the North American Plate is moving southeast relative to the Pacific Plate. This creates a transform plate margin along the center of the Gulf of California, as the two plates slide past one-another, a margin that continues northward under California as the San Andreas Fault. The plates do not move past one-another smoothly, but continuously stick together then break apart as the pressure builds up, leading to regular Earthquakes beneath the Gulf of California and in the surrounding area.

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