California Quake The Biggest Of 2012

By iScienceTimes Staff on December 14, 2012 2:12 PM EST

California quake epicenter
The epicenter of the California quake originated underwater, but thankfully no tsunamis were generated and no warnings were issued. (Photo: USGS)

A 6.3 magnitude California quake is the biggest for the West Coast this year, according to geologists. The California quake struck approximately 185 miles south west of San Diego at around 2:30 a.m. PST, and although the epicenter was underwater no tsunami occurred. No tsunami warnings have been issued since the California quake occurred. The California quake originated about six miles underground and produced at least one significant aftershock that registered 4.3 on the Richter scale.

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The California quake did not occur on the infamous San Andreas Fault line, but was the result of pressures on the interior of the Pacific plate, one of the tectonic plates that form the boundary of the fault line. The California quake was approximately 300 miles from the fault line of the Pacific plate.

The largest California quake so far this year, the 6.3 magnitude earthquake tops a 5.6 magnitude quake that struck northern California in January. Although it appears to be just one point higher on the scale, the force released by today's California quake was 45 times greater than the 5.6 in January.

NBC 7 in San Diego is reporting no damage or injuries resulting from today's California quake.

Although the 6.3 quake was the biggest of the year, 2012 has been a quiet year for the state, geologically speaking. The latest quake followed several weeks of inactivity, a rarity in an area known for having frequent tremors and other tectonic activity. However, the U.S. Geological Survey points out that the area where this quake occurred is not known for tremendous amounts of seismic activity.

"The area offshore and within 250 km of this earthquake has not hosted any events greater than M 6 over the past 40 years," the USGS said in a statement. "The largest nearby earthquake was a M 5.1 event 200 km to the northeast in June of 2004, 80 km west of the border between the US and Baja California. A M 3.3 earthquake struck approximately 35 km to the northeast in April 1981, representing the closest event in the USGS earthquake catalog."

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