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Swarm of Salton Sea earthquakes sparks worry about the San Andreas fault

Rong-Gong Lin II, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

In 1987, a magnitude 6.2 earthquake was followed more than 11 hours later by a magnitude 6.6 quake on the Superstition Hills fault. That one caused $4 million in damage and injured 94 people in Imperial County, while leaving 3,000 people temporarily homeless in the Mexicali area of Baja California.

Perhaps the most famous example of triggered earthquakes in California occurred in 1992.

An April 22 magnitude 6.1 earthquake in Joshua Tree National Park began a sequence that migrated north in the following months. On June 28, an earthquake 63 times stronger ruptured -- the magnitude 7.3 Landers quake, with an epicenter more than 25 miles northeast of Palm Springs. A sleeping 3-year-old boy died after being struck by a collapsing chimney.

Three hours later, a magnitude 6.3 quake struck about 20 miles west, just a few miles from Big Bear.

And just last year, the magnitude 6.4 Ridgecrest earthquake on July 4 in the Mojave Desert was followed less than 34 hours later by a magnitude 7.1 quake. That second quake on July 5 was the most powerful one to hit California in 20 years and caused billions of dollars in damage, especially in the town of Trona and the China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station, the Navy's largest base for developing and testing weapons of warfare.


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