Owens Valley Quakes

October 2, 2009 11:22:51 PM PDT
A swarm of earthquakes have been shaking the Owens Valley since Wednesday. The quake activity intensified on Friday night, with more than 70 temblors hitting by midnight. Bob Dollar of the US Geological Survey says such activity is not unexpected in this region of the Eastern Sierra."In this type of environment it's common to have earthquake swarms where you have two or more earthquakes approximately the same magnitude. In this case we've had two small magnitude 5's, 5.0, 5.2, followed by 4.9, 4.8 we've had a number of earthquakes approximately the same size." Dollar said.

Seismologists say it appears the biggest quake occurred just a mile below the surface. Even though it was not a big quake, such shallow quakes tend to be felt over a larger area. One reason it was felt one hundred miles away in Fresno, and throughout the Central Valley. Margaret Yturri had just sat down to watch the news in her North Fresno home when she felt it.

"The chair went fumph ? and I heard a rumble and of course the house was creaking. Unlike other earthquakes I felt this was not a rocker, it was more of a sinker." Yturri says she's been through several quakes, including the San Francisco earthquake of 1989.

No damage or injuries have been reported from the Owens Valley quakes. Small shakers are expected to continue for days.

The last big quake in the area occurred in 1872. It was estimated to be a 7.6 shaker. That earthquake leveled the town of Lone Pine and collapsed huge granite cliffs in the Yosemite Valley.

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