Learning from earthquakes

By Mary O’Keefe

The clean up continues in Mexicali, Mexico after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit the area on Sunday. Scientists continue to assess the aftermath of the powerful tumbler.

The earthquake struck at 3:40 p.m. about 20 miles from southeast of Mexicali. Two people were reportedly killed and over 200 injured in the area.

At first, scientists from US Geology Survey suspected the quake centered on the Laguna Salada fault but after a fly over in the area to examine the ruptures in the earth’s surface the Borrego fault looks to be the center. A rupture is a break in the Earth’s crust.

“It looks like the majority of the [ruptures] are on the Borrego fault. There are some on the [nearby] Pescadores but not as much motion as Borrego,” said Erik Pounders, USGS geologist.

There were smaller earthquakes in the area before the one struck on Sunday.

“We had a flurry of earthquakes north of the area,” Pounder said.

However that is not a sign that earthquakes are about to happen, or at least scientists cannot determine for certain it is a warning. Earthquakes are happening every minute of every day somewhere around the world and scientists are studying each one.

Earthquakes have been occurring since the beginning of time yet scientists have only been able to monitor them since the seismometer was invented in 1932, Pounder said.

“That isn’t even 100 years. In most cases, the [large magnitude] earthquakes don’t repeat on a [specific] area of a fault for 100 to 300 years,” Pounder said. “We [in the