Heightened earthquake alert issued for Southern California

The Weather Authority

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SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) – Officials say Southern California residents should remain on heightened alert until Tuesday for the increased possibility of a major earthquake.

According to the Orange County Register, the warning by the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services follows a series of small temblors deep under the Salton Sea, which is located on the 800-mile-long San Andreas fault.

Kelly Huston, the deputy director of crisis communications for the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, says such warnings are typically issued once or twice a year.

The latest alert was issued after 142 temblors hit starting Monday near Bombay Beach at the southern end of the fault. The U.S. Geological Survey says those quakes ranged from a magnitude of 1.4 to 4.3.

Scientists estimate the probability of a quake with a magnitude of 7.0 or higher on the southern San Andreas fault being triggered is as high as 1 in 100 and as low as 1 in 3,000. The average chance for such an earthquake striking on any given week is 1 in 6,000. That heightened probability will last through Tuesday.

An expert says earthquakes along the San Andreas typically occur every 300 years but the southernmost end of the fault hasn’t ruptured since 1690.

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