September 9, 2012

USGS Says Friday California Earthquakes Were Unrelated

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports

A trio of earthquakes that stuck Central and Southern California on Friday morning caused no damage and were apparently unrelated, according to various reports published over the weekend.

According to Associated Press reports, a pair of earthquakes hit the Central Valley on Friday morning. The first was magnitude 4.0 and hit at 6:22 a.m. approximately six miles southeast of the city of Huron, while the second was a magnitude 4.1 quake at the same location about a minute later.

There were no damages or injuries reported for either quake, which the AP said hit roughly six hours following a separate magnitude 3.5 earthquake. That quake was centered in Beverly Hills and hit three minutes after midnight, the wire service said. Again, no damage was reported as a result of the seismic activity.

Later in the day on Friday, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) geophysicist Paul Caruso told USA Today reporter Doyle Rice that, as far as the agency could tell, the earthquakes were not related. None of the three were on the San Andreas Fault, and experts say that it is unlikely that they indicate that a bigger quake will take place in the near future.

Experts also denied rumors that they were linked to a magnitude 7.6 earthquake that took place Thursday in Costa Rica. California Institute of Technology seismologist Kate Hutton told Rice that California is "too far away from Costa Rica for one quake to influence another that much."

Likewise, John Vidale, a seismologist at the University of Washington, said that the Costa Rican earthquake lacked the energy to trigger other quakes so far way, as the two locales are approximately 2,700 miles apart.

"Southern California alone has about 10,000 earthquakes each year, the USGS reports, many so small they cannot be felt," Rice wrote in his Friday article. "No damage or injuries were reported in Friday's earthquakes. Caruso says significant damage usually only occurs at magnitude 5.5 quakes and above."

AP reporters Cesar Barrantes and Danica Coto said Costa Rica "suffered remarkably little damage" as a result of last week's earthquake. One fatality was reported (a heart attack brought on by panic), and there was some damage to roads and houses, but experts say that the seismic activity was too deep below the surface to cause major damage.