Eight Earthquakes Shake the Central Coast in Less Than 2 hours

On Tuesday, March 14, San Benito County, which resides along the San Andreas Fault, experienced eight earthquakes in less than 2 hours. These earthquakes occurred between six to seven miles south of Tres Pinos, and the temblors were registered up to three miles deep underground. 

As a matter of fact, San Benito is home to the creeping San Andreas Fault and Calaveras fault, which can easily make San Benito County the “earthquake capital” of California. Scientists describe these faults as creeping due to the fault plates moving slowly against each other instead of being jammed up. As described by Steve Walter, a geologist with the United States Geological Survey, San Benito is a divergence of faults, where the San Andreas fault comes up from the south and other faults break off from it. Although earthquakes of 5.6 or even 7 magnitudes aren’t very common, the portions of the Calaveras and San Andreas faults tend to be frequently active at lower intensities. 

Hollister, a city in San Benito County, is in a sedimentary valley that amplifies the shaking. As Walter had noted, “ The best example of that would be Santa Rosa in 1906. The epicenter was off the Golden Gate Bridge, and the energy was trapped in the base. The [valley] was shaking so bad, basically, all the brick buildings were destroyed.” Walters also points out that “there are no earthquakes day to day, but every 50 to 80 years, they have a big one when the rocks can’t take any more strain, and they fail in a larger way.” This essentially makes San Benito County kind of unusual.

According to the United States Geological Survey, there were three quakes of a 3.4 magnitude and one of a 2.9 magnitude reported in a matter of minutes. 

  • 3.4 earthquake at 10:41:24 a.m.
  • 3.4 earthquake at 10:41:44 a.m.
  • 3.4 earthquake at 10:46 a.m.
  • 2.9 earthquake at 10:47 a.m.
  • 2.6 earthquake at 11:07 a.m.
  • 2.5 earthquake at 11:57 a.m.
  • 3.0 earthquake at 11:58 a.m.
  • 3.0 earthquake at 12:15 p.m.

There have been no reported damages or injuries at this time.


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