Seismographs at the U.S. Geological Survey. Photo courtesy USGS

An earthquake was mistakenly reported by an automated system to have hit San Diego County Wednesday, authorities said.

A quake with a magnitude of 4.9 was erroneously reported within two miles of Mira Mesa, 10.1 miles of Poway and 8.1 miles of Solana Beach at around 4:30 a.m., according to a representative from the National Earthquake Information Center.

An earthquake did strike at that time, but in Baja California, Mexico, with a 4.6 magnitude.

After being reviewed by a seismologist, the earthquake was quickly deleted from the  U.S. Geological Survey event list at around 8 a.m., about 15 minutes after the initial public notice. The USGS’ Earthquake Notification System provides public updates using the Advanced National Seismic System.

“It’s an automated system,” said Susan Garcia with the USGS Earthquake Science Center, “and when data comes in, seismologists take a look at it and see if it’s real.”

The USGS website cites multiple cases of false reports, as automated systems are “prone to errors.” However, these events are removed or deleted by a seismologist after review.

–City News Service

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