- The Washington Times - Friday, June 17, 2005

LOS ANGELES (AP) — After four significant earthquakes in less than a week, Californians are getting jittery, with some stocking up on water, food, cash and even insurance. But seismologists say clusters of quakes are not unheard of and do not necessarily mean the “Big One” is coming.

After several years of relative seismic calm, the recent quakes are a not-so-gentle reminder that the ground here is never as solid as it seems.

The shaking began Sunday morning with a magnitude-5.2 temblor in the Anza area of Riverside County, about 90 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles. That was followed by a magnitude-7.2 quake Tuesday night under the Pacific Ocean off Eureka — an unrelated incident that prompted a tsunami warning.

Thursday brought two quakes that were 10 hours and about 700 miles apart — one of magnitude 4.9 in San Bernardino County and another late that night of magnitude 6.6, centered off the Northern California coast.

Some studies have suggested that the San Andreas fault, which leveled much of San Francisco in 1906 and extends more than 800 miles through California, may be about to release pent-up energy.

But that’s not a consensus opinion. Earthquakes just aren’t that predictable, and a few jolts don’t necessarily mean a huge quake is imminent. “We don’t know whether the ‘Big One’ is coming,” said Tom Jordan, director of the Southern California Earthquake Center.


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