California Earthquake Aftershocks Roll On After 6.9 Tremblor

Tuesday, 11 Mar 2014 08:03 AM

By Michael Mullins

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California earthquake aftershocks continue to be felt days after a 6.9 magnitude earthquake rattled the Golden State's northern coast late Sunday.

As of Monday, at least 13 aftershocks as large as a magnitude 4.6 were reported in the region, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, the largest of which occurred four miles beneath the Pacific seabed 50 miles west of Eureka in Humboldt County, the Associated Press reported.

"Everybody felt it region-wide to the point that there was concern for damage," Humboldt County Sheriff's Lt. Steve Knight told the AP. Knight said that with the exception of triggering some home alarms, the county escaped unharmed. "We're very grateful," Knight added.

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Though there have yet to be any injuries reported in connection with Sunday's earthquake or any of the subsequent aftershocks, experts fear more aftershocks could be on their way.

In a report published Monday afternoon, the Northern California Earthquake Data Center warned that there remained a 90 percent chance that an aftershock with a magnitude 5 or greater could hit the region within the next week, the Christian Science Monitor reported.

The likelihood that an aftershock would exceed the 6.9 magnitude of the earthquake itself remained a slim possibility, with experts estimating the chances of such a powerful aftershock being just 5 to 10 percent.

With the passage of time, the frequency and severity of aftershocks decrease, according to what is known as Omori's law, named after Japanese seismologist Fusakichi Omori, who formulated it in 1894.

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"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."

Though there were no injuries reported as a result of Sunday's earthquake in Northern California, the energy the quake put out was equal to that of the 1995 Kobe, Japan, earthquake, which according to the Christian Science Monitor resulted in approximately $100 billion worth of property damage and killed nearly 6,500 people.

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