What It Means to Live in California


The drought conditions that have developed in much of California and the warnings about an increased risk of wildfires in the state this year, have been in the news a lot the last few weeks.

But over the weekend, many of us who live in San Diego County and nearby Imperial County were reminded that besides droughts and wildfires in California, we also live in a state known for its earthquakes.

A 5.3 magnitude quake that was centered at the south end of the Salton Sea Saturday morning was felt in many parts of San Diego County, from Chula Vista to Carlsbad and from the mountains to the coast. And afterwards came a lot of aftershocks, a couple of them large enough to be felt.

So, it is a sign of an impending big one that earthquake experts have warned about for decades. Probably not with geologists saying these swarms of earthquakes in that area of Imperial County are not unusual and happen every year or two.

But the experts do have concerns that one of these quakes out there could trigger a larger quake along the nearby San Andreas fault, some day. And that’s the key thing: someday, and if it happens and it does, when will it happen.

No one knows of course but the weekend rattling should serve as another reminder to always be prepared just in case, for a quake, a wildfire or a drought, if you live in California.

SEE INFO: Emergency Preparedness at ReadySanDiego.org

(PHOTO: Salton Sea near Calipatria, California.) Some scientists have discovered that human-created changes affecting the Salton Sea appear to be the reason why California's massive "Big One" earthquake is more than 100 years overdue and building up for the greatest disaster ever to hit Los Angeles and Southern California. Researchers found that strands of the San Andreas Fault under the 45-mile long rift lake have have generated at least five 7.0 or larger quakes about every 180 years. This ended in the early 20th century when authorities stopped massive amounts of Colorado River water from periodically flooding the into this sub-sea level desert basin. Such floods used to regularly trigger major quakes and relieve building seismic pressure but the last big earthquake on the southern San Andreas was about 325 years ago. Dangerous new fault branches that could trigger a 7.8 quake have recently been discovered under the Salton Sea. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

Salton Sea California