Craig Fiegener, James Wulff
A swarm of small quakes has rattled nerves in the Inland Empire. UC Riverside's Dr. Gareth Funning says the quakes aren't strong enough to relieve pressure along the anxiety-inspiring San Andreas Fault. Craig Fiegener reports.
The Inland Empire has been very active during the past seven days, seismically speaking.
"There's the Elsinore Fault, close to which several of the earthquakes have occurred this week," said Dr. Gareth Funning, of UC Riverside.
On Tuesday morning, a small but shallow earthquake struck the Coachella Valley, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.
The temblor struck with a magnitude of 3.4 at 8:15 a.m. at a depth of 1.2 miles, its epicenter 11 miles north-northeast of Indio and 20 miles south- southwest of Twentynine Palms, according to a computer-generated USGS report.
But are these quakes unusual?
"The same week last year in Southern California we detected about 100 more small earthquakes than we did this year,” Funning said.
What fascinates and concerns scientists the most is the San Andreas Fault.
"The zone down from the Salton Sea, up to somewhere around the Cajon Pass has not had an earthquake in recorded human history," Funning said.
And, as for small quakes easing pressure, Funning said no. Research suggests only quakes magnitude-5 or 6 can do that.
Small quakes are simply reminders that Southern California is always on the move.