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 By Miriam Raftery

Nadin Abbott contributed to this report

August 26, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – More than 200 earthquakes centered near Brawley in Imperial County have rocked our region in the past 24, many felt by residents across San Diego.  The strongest measured 5.5 and 5.3 on the Richter scale; the most recent, a 5.1, rattled the area at 10 p.m.

View a map; hit “animation” to see the progression: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsanim/canv/.  For details and eyewitness accounts, scroll down.

According to the San Diego County Emergency website, the California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA) has conferred with scientists representing the California Geological Survey, US Geological Survey, Cal Tech and the Southern California Earthquake Center. Cal EMA is advising Imperial County that an increased likelihood exists for continued seismic activity for at least the next 24 hours, potentially including earthquakes larger than today's magnitude 5.5 earthquake.

Brawley has previously had swarms of quakes in the 1970s and 1930s.  The Brawley fault cluster is tied to the San Andreas fault and is among the most seismically active places in California.

The area has recently been the site of fracking, a process known to cause earthquakes, ECM has learned.  This geothermal well is located at latitude 33.01, longitude 115.53: http://geosteam.conservation.ca.gov/Well/WellDetailPage.aspx?domsapp=1&apinum=02591452  The 5,5 quake was centered at latitude 33.02, longitude 115.55  http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/ci15200401#summary

A recent Los Angeles Times editorial detailed the dangers of fracking processes related to geothermal:  http://opinion.latimes.com/opinionla/2012/03/fracking-ohio.html. Here is a photo of a geothermal plant on the Salton Sea near Brawley: link to www.pbase.com

This site, posted by fracking opponents, has maps suggesting fracking and drilling are going on atop or near the San Andrea Fault in the Brawley/Salton Sea area:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATkwm-aOEUI.

Bloomberg News reported that states are seeking regulations to ban fracking due to earthquake concerns and other issues. Bills to regulate fracking in California, largely due to seismic safety issues, just failed

Discovery TV has reported that "man-made earthquakes are real" and linked them to fracking.

Numerous school closures have been announced tomorrow, including El Centro and Brawley areas, KYMA TV in Yuma has announced. The station also has dramatic video shot by a family in their home during a strong jolt: http://www.kyma.com/slp.php?idN=7253&cat=News  

In Brawley, a hospital was evacuated earlier today and sporadic power outages were reported, as well as structure fires.

“Cans and bottles fell off shelves at Von's in Brawley,” Parke Ewing, an ECM reader, stated in an e-mail.

Ocotillo resident Jim Pelley said “It was rocking pretty good, and it’s still rocking,” this afternoon. 

ECM reporter Nadin Abbott, who lives in University City, said her conure birds were “terrified” during the temblors. 

San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) issued another "Unusual Event" at 2:03 p.m. for a seismic event. There was no radioactive release .  The USGS is reporting Intensity of II-III (weak shaking and no damage) for San Diego County.  

A San Diego Sheriff’s official in Borrego Springs said no damage was reported in the community, the nearest San Diego County community to the quakes’ epicenters.

San Diego County’s Office of Emergency Preparedness has many tips for earthquake preparedness, such as how to prepare an earthquake kit for your family and how to secure your furniture: http://www.co.san-diego.ca.us/oes/disaster_preparedness/oes_jl_earthquakes.html

 Did you have damage? Please send your stories and photos to editor@eastcountymagazine.org, or post in the comments section below.




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