An earthquake has hit on the west coast of California sparking major concerns. The huge quake saw a flurry of social media activity. The earthquake was felt just before 5am west coast US time. Official reports say the earthquake was at magnitude 4.4 and 57 miles east of Riverside. The are no reports of injuries or damage to buildings at this time. But the relatively strong quake was felt in Seal Beach, Victorville, Redlands, Lancaster and other Southern California area, with residents reporting that the tremor had awoke them.
The "Did You Feel It" map for the 4.5 & 3.2 quakes north of Cabazon. So far the USGS is up to 2700+ responses from around the region. pic.twitter.com/ondtVj3zhM
— David Biggar (@DavidNBCLA) May 8, 2018
Californians took to Twitter to describe the earthquake. General Organa wrote: “Goooood morning Southern California, what an unpleasant wake up call”. Jeanne Deplorable added: “We just had an earthquake in San Bernardino. I don’t know where it originated but it shook the whole house.” The account Aircraft Spots said: “Wow! Very large earthquake just now in Riverside, Southern California. Shook me awake and was very loud and knocked a few things down. Haven’t felt one that big in a while”.
However, some were worried that this earthquake could be a precursor to the Big One, which will at some point devastate California. Twitter user Mr Kleptonioc wrote: “Earthquake in #California small but I felt that they keep saying we overdue for that big one”. California sits on top of the North American and Pacific tectonic plates and the San Andreas fault runs through it. For decades, residents of the southwestern state and scientists have been concerned a huge earthquake, known as the Big One, is on its way.
Richard Aster, Professor of Geophysics at Colorado State University wrote recently for the Conversation: “The earthquake situation in California is actually more dire than people who aren’t seismologists like myself may realise. “Although many Californians can recount experiencing an earthquake, most have never personally experienced a strong one. “For major events, with magnitudes of seven or greater, California is actually in an earthquake drought.”
The last time there was a magnitude seven quake or higher in California was in 1906 which struck San Francisco and ultimately killed around 3,000 people. But Prof Aster says the damage this time could be much worse. He said: “California’s population has grown more than 20-fold since the 1906 earthquake and currently is close to 40 million.” The professor adds that despite some of the “most advanced [earthquake preparedness] in the world”, there could be serious devastation.
Prof Aster said: “Nonetheless, California’s infrastructure, response planning and general preparedness will doubtlessly be tested when the inevitable and long-delayed ‘big ones’ occur along the San Andreas Fault system. “Ultimate damage and casualty levels are hard to project, and hinge on the severity of associated hazards such as landslides and fires.” He added: “As California prepares for large earthquakes after a hiatus of more than a century, the clock is ticking.”