California sees increase in earthquakes; seismologists fight Twitter rumors
Seismologists in California were busy this week fighting rumors apparently floating on Twitter that a major earthquake was likely in the next few days.
Officials at Caltech say that rumor is not true -- and that no such prediction can be made.
But researchers say there has been an uptick in earthquakes this year.
The number of earthquakes greater than magnitude 4.0 in Southern California and Baja California has increased significantly in 2010. There have been 70 such quakes so far this year, the most of any year in the last decade. And it's only April. There were 30 in 2009 and 29 in 2008.
Seismologists said they are studying the uptick but cannot fully explain it. Major earthquakes tend to occur in cycles, and experts have said the region in recent years has been in a quiet cycle when it comes to sizable temblors.
The string of quakes this year raises the possibility that Southern California might again be entering a more active seismic period. Scientists said the increase does not mean the Big One is any more imminent, but it could mean more significant quakes are on the way.
Times Staff Writer Cara Mia DiMassa looks at the numbers in the video above. Here is her story.