Seismologists monitor San Andreas fault after Salton Sea quake

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A rumbling out at sea this week could be a warning of a big earthquake coming to California and little ripple in waters southeast of Palm Springs may be the precursor to "the big one." (KFSN)

A rumbling out at sea this week could be a warning of a big earthquake coming to California and little ripple in waters southeast of Palm Springs may be the precursor to "the big one."

A swarm of small quakes deep under the Salton Sea has seismologists concerned about effects on the nearby San Andreas fault.

"Each earthquake is a little change in stress, and that's a little poke on all the faults around it," earthquake expert Dr. Lucy Jones said. "And we've got this really big CAT that, at some point, is going to be pushed over the cliff. Each little nudge doesn't have a good chance of doing it, but you add up enough of them."

And the problems multiply. Experts believe the fault is overdue for a major quake and there's not much you can do about it. An early warning system promoted by a bill the governor signed this week should become a reality in the next year or two, and it'll get quick alerts out on TV, radio and cell phones, but the warning may come too late.

"You'll get somewhere from no warning," Doug Given with the USGS said. "In the worst case scenario, five or 10 seconds. Or in very large earthquakes on the southern or northern sections of the San Andreas, minutes of warning are possible."

If an earthquake knocks out your power but you still have use of your phone or some other device, the Red Cross has an earthquake app that'll be a big help. Most the Central Valley is a good distance away from the fault line but Red Cross workers want you to be prepared. Their app helps with ideas for emergency kits which you can buy on their website or fill with your own items.

And they encourage families to make a plan, especially for an earthquake because of that lack of a significant warning. Meanwhile, their volunteers stay ready.

"We have trailers that are staged all over the Central Valley with disaster supplies like cots and blankets and hygiene items so if a disaster does strike we can activate those resources quickly," said Jessica Piffero with the American Red Cross of Central California.

The app will show where Red Cross shelters pop up in the wake of any disaster, including the quake California has dreaded for decades.
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