It seems that there have been a few more earthquakes in Southern California lately. I don’t remember this many in the last ten years, but that’s probably due to the fact that I wasn’t paying any attention. Last night we had a 5.7 magnitude quake 5km of Ocotillo, California. Looking at the USGS (United States Geological Survey) website, there have been hundreds of smaller magnitude rattlers throughout that area.

Image by USGS Website

I guess you can say that there really is no surprise that we got a decent sized magnitude earthquake from that region. Judging by the data map, it almost looks like it was only a matter of time. Luckily for the area’s residents the past 5.7 quake was the largest magnitude shocker. The area is still very much active with a 3.2 magnitude quake today 7:42pm PST. With that said its probably a good idea to keep an eye out in your home for potential items that may become victim of a shake.

USGS data - The area is very much active

USGS Data - More lower magnitude earthquakes

As of 6 a.m. Tuesday, the USGS reported more than 100 aftershocks with the largest measuring a 4.5 magnitude.

SDSU Geology Professor Emeritus Pat Abbott, Ph.D. believes Monday night’s quake was an aftershock of the Easter quake which was centered not far away and measured as a magnitude 7.2. That ruptured a good 60 miles or so of the Earth’s surface in Baja California.

“San Diegans have been used to small ones that last for short periods of time and here two months later, an aftershock bigger than what we normally get for our main shock,” Abbott said.

The damage done by the April quake is what’s making us more aware of the smaller quake.

“If we have a movement along a two-mile long area, four miles deep, that puts a lot of other pressure on the areas right in front of it and right above it,” Abbott said. “Some of these numerous small aftershocks are coming up closer to the surface, of course the closer to the surface they are, the more energy gets dumped on the surface,” Abbott said.

Its always a good idea to be prepared, so as Southern Californians lets brush up on some earthquake safety tips by

Before the Earthquake:

  • Learn how to survive during the ground motion. This is described in the “During the Earthquake” section below. The earthquake safety tips there will prepare you for the fast action needed – most earthquakes are over in seconds so knowing what to do instinctively is very important.
  • Teach all members of your family about earthquake safety. This includes: 1) the actions you should take when an earthquake occurs, 2) the safe places in a room such as under a strong desk, along interior walls, and 3) places to avoid such as near windows, large mirrors, hanging objects, heavy furniture and fireplaces.
  • Stock up on emergency supplies. These include: battery operated radio (and extra batteries), flashlights (and extra batteries), first aid kit, bottled water, two weeks food and medical supplies, blankets, cooking fuel, tools needed to turn off your gas, water and electric utilities.
  • Arrange your home for safety: Store heavy objects on lower shelves and store breakable objects in cabnents with latched doors. Don’t hang heavy mirrors or pictures above where people frequently sit or sleep.
  • Anchor heavy appliances and furniture such as water heaters, refrigerators and bookcases.
  • Store flamable liquids away from potential ignition sources such as water heaters, stoves and furnaces.
  • Get Educated. Learn what to do during an earthquake (see below). Then you will be ready for the fast action needed. Make sure that all members of your family have this important education.
  • Learn where the main turn-offs are for your water, gas and electricity. Know how to turn them off and the location of any needed tools.

During the Earthquake:

  • If you are indoors, stay there. Quickly move to a safe location in the room such as under a strong desk, a strong table, or along an interior wall. The goal is to protect yourself from falling objects and be located near the structural strong points of the room. Avoid taking cover near windows, large mirrors, hanging objects, heavy furniture, heavy appliances or fireplaces.
  • If you are cooking, turn off the stove and take cover.
  • If you are outdoors, move to an open area where falling objects are unlikely to strike you. Move away from buildings, powerlines and trees.
  • If you are driving, slow down smoothly and stop on the side of the road. Avoid stopping on or under bridges and overpasses, or under power lines, trees and large signs. Stay in your car.

After the Earthquake:

  • Check for injuries, attend to injuries if needed, help ensure the safety of people around you.
  • Check for damage. If your building is badly damaged you should leave it until it has been inspected by a safety professional.
  • If you smell or hear a gas leak, get everyone outside and open windows and doors. If you can do it safely, turn off the gas at the meter. Report the leak to the gas company and fire department. Do not use any electrical appliances because a tiny spark could ignite the gas.
  • If the power is out, unplug major appliances to prevent possible damage when the power is turned back on. If you see sparks, frayed wires, or smell hot insulation turn off electricity at the main fuse box or breaker. If you will have to step in water to turn off the electricity you should call a professional to turn it off for you.
  • « »