Jangled nerves in California, as scientist at a loss to explain present Southern California quake swarm

August 29, 2012 CALIFORNIAAn unusual swarm of hundreds of mostly small earthquakes has struck Southern California over the last three days and shaken the nerves of quake-hardy residents, but scientists say the cluster is not a sign a larger temblor is imminent. The earthquakes, the largest of which measured magnitude 5.5, began on Saturday evening and have been centered near the town of Brawley close to the state’s inland Salton Sea, said Jeanne Hardebeck, research seismologist for the U.S. Geological Survey. Scientists were monitoring the earthquake cluster, which continued on Tuesday, to see if it approaches the Imperial Fault, about three miles away. A destructive and deadly earthquake of magnitude 7.0 struck on that fault in 1940, she said. “We don’t have any reason to believe that the (earthquake) storm is going to trigger on the Imperial Fault, but there’s a minute possibility that it could,” Hardebeck said, adding that the swarm of quakes was not moving closer to that fault. The Brawley quake cluster, which is caused by hot fluid moving around in the Earth’s crust, is different than a typical earthquake, in which two blocks of earth slip past each other along a tectonic fault line. After that kind of an earthquake of magnitude 5.5 or above, there is a 5 percent chance a larger quake will follow, Hardebeck said. But she added the same kinds of probability estimates were not possible with earthquake clusters caused by the movement of hot fluid. “We understand them even less than we understand normal earthquakes,” Hardebeck said, adding that scientists do not know why a cluster of earthquakes will occur at one time rather than another. The swarm led to jangled nerves in Brawley, a town of about 25,000 residents 170 miles southeast of Los Angeles near the border with Mexico. “It’s pretty bad. We had to evacuate the hotel just for safety,” Rowena Rapoza, office manager of a local Best Western Hotel, said on Sunday. There were two earthquakes on Sunday afternoon, one with a 5.5 magnitude and one measuring 5.3, Hardebeck said. Those were the largest quakes in the cluster amid hundreds of others, she said. In the past, earthquake clusters have gone on for as long as two weeks, Hardebeck said. Before this recent cluster in Brawley, the last swarm of this size to hit the area was in 1981, she said. –Reuters

Geothermal Region: Gulf of California Rift Zone

The Gulf of California rift zone is a complex transition zone between the dextral (right-lateral) motions of the San Andreas transform fault system and the northwestward progressing spreading ridge complex of the Gulf of California segment of the Eastern Pacific Rise. The Gulf of California and its onshore extension, the Salton Trough (which includes Mexicali, Imperial, and Coachella Valleys), are located over a series of rifts in the Earth’s crust which are filling with sediment from above, chiefly from the Colorado River, and magmatic material from below. The Cerro Prieto geothermal field in Mexico and the Brawley Seismic zone in the U.S. are located above two of these rifts, and young volcanoes in these locations are evidence of intrusion of magma from below. The volcanics in this exploration region are less then 5-million year old and associated with northwest folding, block- and thrust- faulting. Dacite is the most common volcanic rock, with a composition that ranges from basalt to rhyolite. The volcanic activity appears to be related to extension associated with the San Andreas Fault system. The most recent volcanic activity is dated to 10,000 years ago. The heat source for the Geysers geothermal field is provided by a silicic magama chamber. Clear Lake Volcanic Field, California. -GE
Ancient tectonic plate slid under Western North America, thining the crust: The Farallon Plate was an ancient oceanic plate, which began subducting under the west coast of the North American Plate— then located in modern Utah— as Pangaea broke apart during the Jurassic Period. It is named for the Farallon Islands which are located just west of San Francisco, California. Over time the central part of the Farallon Plate was completely subducted under the southwestern part of the North American Plate. The remains of the Farallon Plate are the Juan de Fuca, Explorer and Gorda Plates, subducting under the northern part of the North American Plate; the Cocos Plate subducting under Central America; and the Nazca Plate subducting under the South American Plate. The Farallon Plate is also responsible for transporting old island arcs and various fragments of continental crustal material rifted off from other distant plates and accreting them to the North American Plate. These fragments from elsewhere are called terranes (sometimes, ‘exotic’ terranes). Much of western North America is composed of these accreted terranes. (Left) Baja, California map showing fracture along the Laguna Salada fault during 7.2 magnitude earthquake in 2010. -Wikipedia 
The Imperial Fault is linked to the San Andreas Fault through the Brawley Seismic Zone, which is a spreading center beneath the southern end of the Salton Sea. The 6.9 Gulf of California earthquake in 2009; the 7.2 Baja, California magnitude earthquake on the Laguna Salada fault in 2010; twin quake swarms in Southern California in August…is this the beginning of the rifting of southern California? -The Extinction Protocol
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This entry was posted in 2012, Earth Changes, Earth Watch, Earthquake Omens?, High-risk potential hazard zone, Magma Plume activity, Potential Earthchange hotspot, Seismic tremors, Signs of Magnetic Field weakening, Time - Event Acceleration, Volcano Watch. Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to Jangled nerves in California, as scientist at a loss to explain present Southern California quake swarm

  1. If it was the beginning of the rifting of SC, I imagine it would take quite awhile though, right? Or could something happen to make it occur sooner? Thanks Alvin.

    • It would take awhile, unless something catastrophic happened that sped up the process. I think volcanic activity would be one strong signpost that massive geological changes of that nature were underway.

      • Brandon says:

        It would. Earth changes take thousands/millions of years to play out to near extinction of humanity. We have a long ways to go.

  2. Irene C says:

    I don’t know which thought disturbs me the most: scientists being at a loss to explain or knowing there’s hot fluid moving underneath the area. Brought to mind the movie “Volcano” where a volcano develops in Los Angeles. Thinking now that maybe that movie wasn’t as ludicrous as I thought.

  3. Mick says:


    It’s crazy, I just ask you about this in reference to the last article you posted, and it seems as though a volcano lurking under that area is very possible. Thanks for the site.


  4. Angel says:

    For scientists to say these swarms aren’t signs of an immanent ‘Big One’ that’s BS, according to this LATimes article from 2009, they’ve been watching the salton sea/rift for years for warning signs to predict the ‘Big One’ http://articles.latimes.com/2009/mar/24/local/me-quakes24

    • df says:

      How interesting, just a day ago, the LA times published this article:

      • Irene C says:

        They may be right. This might not be a sign for the “big one”. But the big one will come one day, and if the scientists keep dismissing all the incidents, then people will keep their heads in the sand and will be caught unprepared. Reminds me of the movie “2012″ when the governor, right before the big one, said “there was nothing to worry about. The stress had been released”. I agree with what Dan said – don’t live in fear, just be prepared.

      • df says:

        Very true. It’s important to be prepared physically and spiritually. I read a comment the other day that a poll was done and most people in California admitted they were not prepared for an earthquake related disaster. I pray that at least more have become prepared or that this rash of quakes has woken some people up to reality.

  5. chris says:

    Take a look at the 1981 event at Brawley (33N 115W) Its available on the Cal Tech site SCEDC. It was nothing compared to what is happening in this event. The 2005 and to even a lesser extent the 2008 events mentioned in the MSM press releases are puny in comparison. What is happening now is something different.

  6. Mikey says:

    I have a bad feeling about this. The area is gearing up for something I think. If only we knew ! When you consider the ring of fire it seems that California is ‘stuck’ or the fault system is ‘snagged up’ on something.

  7. keeperjoey says:

    Because nobody thinks to consider this…. But the swarm indicates that nearby…possibly underground, a volcano has become active.

    • StevenJ says:

      KeeperJoey: There’s a volcano just South of there in Mexico – I don’t think they know how big the magma chamber may be… It could all be interconnected…

  8. Dan says:

    Relax guys… All this is is a re-settling of stresses following the 7.3 M eq in el Salvador on Monday…

    It’s all connected….

    Is this a series of quakes in preparation of the big one? Of course!! All of these events are movements in preparation for the SoCal mega quake…. Doesn’t mean it’s gonna happen anytime soon…. Could be this weekend, could be dec 21…. Who knows, could be 100 years from now… Yes, it brings us one step closer… And the journey of 10,000 miles begins with the first step…

    God bless you all… Live your lives to the fullest and don’t get hung up on stupid bs…

    In the end, there’s nothing we can do about it anyway, so let us praise God and thank him for all the things we’ve been blessed with…

    • Scott says:

      You are right that people should not live in fear, but a little prep work wouldn’t hurt anyone. A month or even a week of food and water set back for any situation wouldn’t be a bad thing. There are so many things that could disrupt supply lines, not just earthquakes and volcanlos. My take on it is just have a plan in case, and have the supplies to carry out that plan. If your plan is to depend on Uncle Sam to take care of you, then you better hope it isn’t anything large scale or you will be SOL.

    • Melissa says:

      This started occurring before that quake, however. If you look at a USGS map, those quakes started first, then there was a 5-something off the coast of the Baja Peninsula, then the El Salvador quake. Looks to me like CA was the precursor of everything and the movement in the south could have been the resettling response, not the other way around. If that’s the case, I think that’s more telling.

    • Nam Marine says:

      Dan, That was an excellent reply!

  9. DC says:

    @Dan. Well said.

  10. Helen Parks says:

    I see Fresno is in this area
    Anyone read JOE BRANDT 1937?

  11. girlie says:

    In October,the govt. will trigger the tectonic plate that will cause the Big One. The quake will split California and throw San Francisco to the ocean.Millions will die.Obama will declare Civil emergency and then Martial Law then he will write an executive order to postpone the elections.He will remain in power.

  12. korea berry says:

    All i can say what there is needed much to say as being a christian and a woman of God. The bible pretty much explains it all people don’t like to hear the truth, these are prophecies that are being fullfilled let God be true and every man be a liar enough said God is not lying and he’s not playing America wake up repent and turn away and come back to Jesus.

    • The truth is relative to your perspective. In your case you would rather use a couple hundred year old english translation of an oral history that’s written down in several different tongues and convey differently, but similarly, than a ask a question and listen to an answer, we are unsure, we don’t really know, we don’t understand (cause there is only a could hundred year white history for the region)

  13. Nam Marine says:

    If Kalifornia sunk into the ocean, would anyone notice?

    • pagan66 says:

      Millions dead in the inital tearing? Millions more perishing in the ensuing tsunamis? 163k sq miles of the US mainland gone? You ask if anyone would notice that??. That’s a really horrid question & I hope you were being serious & not flippant because a disaster of that magnitude would be absolutely unimaginable & to joke about peoples lives like that is simply awful.


    • Skeptical citizen says:

      I think it would be noticed, Im aware Nam Marine was being sarcastic. I wonder that if Kalifornia sunk into the ocean would anyone care? Actually those folks have been warned and they could relocate. Like the folks who stay in places like new orleans most of the responsibility is theirs. you make your choices your stuck with the results.

      • Irene C says:

        Skeptical citizen – most of the times I agree with your comments, but this time I have reservations. Although I do agree that there were many people in New Orleans, and other places, that should have evacuated, but that is a different situation than totally relocating. Unfortunately, that is not always an option for many people. Consider the elderly, those who are taking care of the elderly, people who are close to retirement, the poor who have no extra money to relocate, etc. But don’t get me wrong, I do understand your sentiment. Anyone who lives in a high-risk zone and who is able, should seriously consider relocating.

        As for Nam Marine: I would notice and I would care. First of all, devestating loss of life always grieves me. Second – I have friends who live in California.

      • pagan66 says:

        Where would all those millions of people relocate to? Where would they find jobs & somewhere to start their businesses up again in the present climate of uncertainty? Where would their children go to school? Where would all the people in hospitals/nursing homes/prisons etc go? Where would people living on the basic amount of income just to survive find the money to relocate? These people don’t have the choices you describe, they, just like billions of others globally are delusional & trapped tightly within the system & will live then die within it. The only time there will be migrations/relocations from any major cities will be after catastrophe. And yes, I for one would care if California sank beneath the waves – because that would be a tragedy of epic proportions & the scale of human suffering would be immeasurable. Maybe I’m different that I can’t just flippantly ridicule or question the deaths of millions.Three thousand people died when planes slammed into buildings in 2001 & that changed the entire world, can you imagine what a catastropohe on this scale would do to it’s psyche?


  14. robind333 says:

    I was told “drilling” in earths core is what causes earthquakes. Think about this for a minute…Oil is a type of lubricant(peeps don’t get disgusting here!) maybe some how, some way by removing the oil from the earth’s core, it now causes more severe earthquakes…Every mineral in earth is there for a very specific reason…and I don’t believe the reason was for us….

    It’s a theory…LOL…..but don’t be surprised if they find out later this “is” the case…..LOL…

    Thank you for your dedication to keeping us informed….Many, many blessings to you…Robin

  15. Countrygirl says:

    Hi Alvin,
    Just wondering if you see any significance in the Virgin Island quake swarm that has been going on for the past few days? While not as numerous as this SoCal swarm, there is definitely alot of activity going on there, with some +4.5s today as well. Is this swarm tied to any volcanic influence? Thank you for blessing us with your knowledge and foresight of things to come. Your work is truly appreciated!

    • Yes, I spoke in a previous post about how the Pacific/North American plate California and the Cocos plate (Central America) and the adjoining Caribbean plate trade tension back and forth; and so, this entire quadrant of the globe is facing agitation. Volcanic, as in cone; no. Volcanic, as in a systemic channels of magma under the ground, where the crust could be thin and severely fractured, and faulted from the subduction of the ancient Farallon plate diving under North America; yes.

      I thank God for the knowledge and the opportunity to be of service,

      All the best,

  16. Colleen says:

    I completely concur with Korea berry. God bless.

  17. Weston says:

    A catastrophic quake on the S. San Andreas is inevitable, probably sooner rather than later (by sooner I mean within 30-50 years). Major highways, railroads and aqueducts will be severed. Emergency services will be limited People in S. Cal need to have a survival plan in place. Water (both for man and beast), food and personal items and yes, plenty of ammunition with the firearms that use them.

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