A swarm of small earthquakes last week along the San Andreas Fault in Imperial County has stoked national fears that California may experience a major quake in coming days.
The probability of a major earthquake is officially estimated at no more than 1 percent, but national TV and popular websites have seized on the story.
The flurry of small quakes, the largest 4.3-magnitude, struck under the Salton Sea on Monday morning. The next day, the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services issued a measured advisory reminding local emergency managers and the public to be prepared for a potentially large earthquake through Oct. 4.
“California is earthquake country. We must always be prepared and not let our guard down,” said Director Mark Ghilarducci. “The threat of an earthquake on the San Andreas Fault hasn’t gone away, so this is another important opportunity for us to revisit our emergency plans and learn what steps you need to take if a significant earthquake hits.”
Then on Friday, the California Earthquake Prediction Evaluation Council set the odds of an earthquake of 7.0-magnitude in the next few days at between 0.03 percent 1 percent.
Those aren’t high odds, but national and even international media have turned to dramatic headlines.
Britain’s Indepedent newspaper warned Saturday that “Magnitude 7 earthquake in California could be imminent as swarm of smaller quakes strike near major faultline.”
“‘Earthquake Storm’ Warns Big Quake May Hit Southern California,” said Breitbart news on Sunday.
California agencies are taking the opportunity to remind residents to prepare in advance for earthquakes.
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