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Expert: Recent San Diego Seismic Activity Not Surprising

There's been a lot of shaking going on off the San Diego coastline in the last week. More than eleven earthquakes in the same area may be an indication of a larger event to come. KPBS Reporter Ed Joyc

Expert: Recent San Diego Seismic Activity Not Surprising

There's been a lot of shaking going on off the San Diego coastline in the last week. More than eleven earthquakes in the same area may be an indication of a larger event to come. KPBS Reporter Ed Joyce has details.

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The cluster of earthquakes have come from a small fault in the ocean that's located between six and 15 miles west of Mission Beach. Doctor Pat Abbott is an emeritus professor of geology at San Diego State University. He says the magnitude range of the quakes, between 1-point-5 to slightly over 4, are small adjustments to a minor fault.

Abbott: Those are little faults we've been feeling, very real, cousins of the great big ones. But not one of the big faults. And that's good news by the way because small faults do not have huge earthquakes. It takes a long big fault to have a really big earthquake."

Scripps Institution of Oceanography geophysicist Graham Kent specializes in studying underwater faults. He says the recent activity could be connected to a larger event from one of the nearby big faults.

Kent: As a seismologist we get a little excited because every once in a while, and it's probably in the few percent, that these magnitude threes and fours and fives can be what we call a foreshock to larger event. So it always raises our eyebrow just a little bit. But we also know that it's significant but small chance, a few percent.

Kent says we're overdue for a large quake from one of the major faults in our area. Abbott agrees saying it's only a matter of time. Ed Joyce, KPBS News.