More Than 80,000 Earthquakes Have Hit California Since July 4th, And The Aftershocks Are Headed “Toward The Garlock Fault”
The recent seismic activity in the state of California has taken a strange turn. According to the Los Angeles Times, there have been more than 80,000 earthquakes in the state since July 4th, and most of those quakes were aftershocks of the two very large events that hit the Ridgecrest area early in the month.
Over the past couple of weeks, however, a very unusual pattern has begun to emerge. We have started to see aftershocks creep toward two of the largest fault lines in southern California, and this is making seismologists very nervous. The fact that we are seeing aftershocks “approaching the Owens Valley fault” is definitely alarming, but of far more concern is the fact that the Ridgecrest aftershocks are also headed “toward the Garlock fault”. The following comes from a local California news source…
According to a Los Angeles Times article , aftershocks of the magnitude 7.1 earthquake near Ridgecrest have been creeping into areas close to two major earthquake faults which is concerning for some seismologists on whether it could trigger another huge temblor.
“Some aftershocks have rumbled northwest of the Searles Valley earthquake, approaching the Owens Valley fault. That fault triggered an earthquake of perhaps magnitude 7.8 or 7.9 in 1872, one of the largest in California’s modern record,” the article explains. “The Ridgecrest aftershocks have also headed southeast toward the Garlock fault, a lesser-known fault capable of producing an earthquake of magnitude 8 or more. The fault along the northern edge of the Mojave Desert can send shaking south and west into Bakersfield and Ventura and Los Angeles counties.”
In the end, this could turn out to be nothing, but there are a couple of reasons why we want to keep a very close eye on the Garlock fault.
First of all, the Garlock fault is the second largest fault line in the entire state of California, and it is a major threat to southern California.
Secondly, the Garlock fault runs directly into the San Andreas fault, and many believe that a major quake along one could potentially trigger a major quake along the other.
If you are not familiar with the Garlock fault, the following is some basic information from Wikipedia…
The Garlock Fault marks the northern boundary of the area known as the Mojave Block, as well as the southern ends of the Sierra Nevada and the valleys of the westernmost Basin and Range province. Stretching for 250 kilometers (160 mi), it is the second-longest fault in California and one of the most prominent geological features in the southern part of the state.
The Garlock Fault runs from a junction with the San Andreas Fault in the Antelope Valley, eastward to a junction with the Death Valley Fault Zone in the eastern Mojave Desert. It is named after the historic mining town of Garlock, founded in 1894 by Eugene Garlock and now a ghost town.
So exactly what would a major quake along the Garlock fault look like?