California Earthquake: It Might Not Be Over Yet


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A strong earthquake struck much of northern California and southern Oregon on Sunday, but surprisingly caused only minimal damage. Although the earthquake itself was enough to scare residents, the more than 20 aftershocks that struck in the eight hours following the quake kept the residents alert.

The earthquake was a 6.8 magnitude quake, and struck at 10:18 p.m. The tremor didn't last very long, but over 4,000 people felt it and the following aftershocks. Although the aftershocks seemed to have ceased for now, experts warn that more could be in the future.

The Northern California Earthquake Data Center has warned that there could be at least one more 5.0 or higher magnitude aftershock that could strike the area within the next week. The type of quake that occurred was near the surface and according to experts, these shallow quakes are more likely to cause aftershocks than deeper quakes. The chances of another strong aftershock are between 5 and 10%.

"It kind of goes in spurts," National Earthquake Information Center geophysicist Don Blakeman told the San Francisco Chronicle. "You can't say when it will end, but as time passes, you get fewer and fewer aftershocks and in general, they get smaller and smaller."

The quake occurred when the Gorda plate slid underneath the North American plate. As the plates push against each other, the fault lines feel the stress and release it with earthquakes.

The size of the quake has been compared to one that struck in Kobe, Japan in 1995, killing over 6,000 people and causing $100 billion in damage. Because of the slower peak ground velocity of Sunday's earthquake, there was far less damage and very few injuries caused by it. Residents are shaken but okay and hoping that there are no more aftershocks to worry about.

Did you feel the California quake on Sunday?

Image via Wikimedia Commons