April 5th, 2010

goldenwolf

Missed Another One!

I lived in Yuma, AZ for about 6 years. My boss was a geologist who was an avid earthquake aficionado. I was one of the first people to get Internet access in the office because I promised I could get him near real-time data for earthquakes. I used to produce maps showing the local seismicity. The majority of the quakes were in the M=2 range, but there were the occasional 3's. It was no secret that the area was quite active. The Gulf of California is a rift zone that transitions into the San Andreas transform boundary. The reason why the Salton Sea is below sea level is because the continent is trying to split apart with the bottom dropping out.

The area has been hit by several damaging quakes over the past few decades. My boss was there for the 1979 quake (M6.6) which toppled the Brawley CA water tower. He was always showing cool pics of the damage.

All the time I lived there I can say that I experienced only one tiny tremor. I had been chilling on the sofa when I felt a slight vibration. My boss had taught me well to immediately record the time whenever you felt a shaking or a vibration. Sure enough there was a M2 only about 50 miles away at that exact moment. So now the area gets hit with a M7 only a couple of months after experiencing a M6. I guess I was just "lucky" to have been living in the area during one of the more quiet periods. My friend got to experience the M6 in the best possible way. He was out in the middle of nowhere along the Salton Sea. Remember: Earthquakes don't kill people (unless you get scared and have a heart attack), it's buildings and things falling that kill people.