Several earthquakes of 3.5-magnitude or greater shook California this week, but no need to panic. Here's why

The Golden State just keeps shaking, and some worry it's all leading to something bigger.California was struck by...

Posted: Jul 17, 2019 9:23 AM

The Golden State just keeps shaking, and some worry it's all leading to something bigger.

California was struck by six earthquakes of a 3.5-magnitude or greater over a 24-hour period beginning Tuesday morning, according to the US Geological Survey. One of those struck the San Francisco Bay area at a magnitude 4.3. Another -- a strong 4.5-magnitude -- jolted Ridgecrest around the same time, the US Geological Survey reported.

That community was already on edge following two powerful earthquakes on July 6, one a magnitude 7.1, the strongest to hit the state in two decades.

More than 500 earthquakes of 3-magnitude or greater have followed the massive earthquake in its aftershock sequence.

With so many, some residents have been left to wonder if the big one is coming. Well, not necessarily.

What is 'The Big One'?

Geologists have warned that California is probably "overdue" for a major earthquake along the San Andreas Fault, which runs inland from the Bay Area through the state's southern border.

That earthquake has been ominously dubbed, "The Big One."

The southern part of the fault usually has a large quake every 150 years, according to the USGS. The last one to happen there was in 1857.

"One should always be preparing for a Big One," Dr. Lucy Jones, a seismologist with the California Institute of Technology, said.

So is it coming?

Yes. Someday. But will that day be tomorrow? That is impossible to say.

There's about a 2% chance of the Big One occurring each year, Jones said on Twitter, or about 1 in 20,000 every day.

While seismologists can make predictions about the chances of aftershocks immediately following a big quake and can calculate a forecast based on statistical analysis, they cannot predict exactly when or where The Big One -- or any one -- will strike, according to the USGS.

But are all of these earthquakes connected?

No. The earthquakes are striking on different fault lines.

Tuesday's quake in the Bay Area occurred on the Greenville Fault, the USGS said. The Ridgecrest earthquake and aftershocks struck at the Little Lake fault zone.

What are connected are the initial quakes and then their subsequent aftershocks, known as a sequence.

But there have been so many!

In the immediate, it feels like a lot. But, it hasn't been enough to point to a devastating quake.

Over the last two decades, Jones said, Southern California has experienced "an extremely quiet time" when it comes to seismic activity.

A seismological event big enough to be The Big One would likely see a period of increased activity for several years, according to the USGS.

However, USGS researchers are predicting that there is a 70% chance the San Francisco Bay area will see a 6.7 magnitude earthquake or higher along the San Andreas fault before 2030.

Then what is next?

The USGS warns that there is a small chance that a large aftershock will follow the Tuesday and Wednesday morning tremors, but it is more likely that smaller earthquakes will happen over the next week.

As time goes on, the USGS said, the number of aftershocks drops off.

But if a bigger one does come back around, the USGS says: drop, cover and hold on.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 343505

Reported Deaths: 7543
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds23932444
DeSoto23229283
Harrison20527329
Rankin15411291
Jackson15232252
Madison10959227
Lee10719179
Jones9047169
Forrest8723159
Lauderdale7884244
Lowndes7054151
Lamar702989
Lafayette6548124
Washington5595139
Pearl River5196152
Bolivar4954134
Oktibbeha494398
Panola4771112
Warren4728128
Marshall4701106
Pontotoc447773
Union433279
Monroe4330137
Neshoba4281181
Hancock428088
Lincoln4176116
Pike3667113
Leflore3627125
Tate353388
Alcorn350974
Sunflower347694
Scott341176
Adams340988
Yazoo339376
Copiah324968
Simpson322891
Itawamba314680
Coahoma314085
Tippah306568
Prentiss298863
Covington293484
Leake285475
Marion284181
Wayne277543
George272251
Grenada269488
Newton262364
Tishomingo239770
Winston236784
Jasper230648
Stone229637
Attala226373
Chickasaw219060
Holmes200174
Clay197654
Clarke186880
Tallahatchie183742
Calhoun181332
Smith179235
Yalobusha171540
Walthall145748
Lawrence142826
Greene140134
Amite137543
Noxubee135235
Perry133538
Montgomery133044
Carroll126431
Webster121232
Jefferson Davis116734
Tunica114227
Benton106725
Claiborne105331
Kemper102429
Humphreys100133
Franklin87923
Quitman84719
Choctaw82619
Wilkinson78032
Jefferson71328
Sharkey51618
Issaquena1736
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 587405

Reported Deaths: 11536
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson853851591
Mobile48932864
Madison37517533
Shelby27280257
Tuscaloosa27171465
Montgomery26172627
Baldwin25399329
Lee17224181
Calhoun15401334
Morgan15170291
Etowah14954370
Marshall13116235
Houston12077293
Elmore10915219
St. Clair10763252
Limestone10725158
Cullman10546205
Lauderdale10255254
DeKalb9508192
Talladega8949188
Walker7793288
Autauga7563114
Jackson7400117
Blount7362139
Colbert6703142
Coffee6365132
Dale5650117
Russell480243
Chilton4771117
Covington4749125
Franklin458181
Tallapoosa4519156
Escambia441383
Chambers3949125
Dallas3743163
Clarke371263
Marion3463107
Pike332579
Lawrence3263100
Winston298773
Bibb290465
Geneva283983
Marengo262467
Barbour250961
Pickens245562
Butler240872
Hale235578
Fayette227065
Henry213945
Monroe202141
Randolph201144
Cherokee199248
Washington185239
Macon170552
Crenshaw168358
Clay166259
Cleburne161345
Lamar151038
Lowndes145455
Wilcox132331
Bullock126542
Conecuh121332
Coosa118329
Perry110528
Sumter110333
Greene99137
Choctaw64425
Out of AL00
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Tupelo
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Columbus
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Oxford
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Starkville
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The heat wave that controlled our area over the past several days is now behind us. The forecast for the next week looks a bit cooler & less humid.
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