Tuesday 31 December 2013

Magnitude 3.6 Earthquake in Riverside County, California.

The United States Geological Survey recorded a Magnitude 3.6 Earthquake at a depth of 19.6 km  in the San Jacinto Mountains in Riverside County, California, slightly before 3.45 pm local time (slightly before 11.45 pm GMT) on Monday 30 December 2013. There are no reports of any damage or injuries associated with this event, though people reported feeling it as far away as San Diego, slightly over 100 km to the southwest.

The approximate location of the 30 December 2013 Riverside County 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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