Earthquakes Shake Up Bay Area

Photo: Harry Jol

Photo: Harry Jol

Sophie Jacques, Staff Writer

The Bay Area has been hit with numerous earthquakes lately. Whether you’ve felt them or not, the West Coast is experiencing an increase in tectonic activity.

Nepal was hit with an 8.1 magnitude earthquake on April 25. This earthquake killed about 8,000 people and injured around 19,000. It was the worst natural disaster to strike Nepal since 1934.

The Bay Area has also been experiencing an increase in tectonic activity. Over the past month, Northern California has been hit with 341 earthquakes. While most of these earthquakes are below 3.0 magnitudes, they show more potential for a larger one to hit California soon.

Many people may ask if the Nepal earthquake could be indirectly causing the earthquakes in California. Experts aren’t sure, but most likely not.

California and Nepal are both situated on Pacific Ring of Fire. The Pacific Ring of Fire is an area where a large number of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur in the basin of the Pacific Ocean. To understand the reason behind this seismology, you have to know that the earth’s crust is divided up into 15 major tectonic plates; like a puzzle. Between each plate there are different “fault lines.” For example, one plate may submerge under another, depending on its direction of movement.

That is exactly what the Pacific plate is doing right now: it’s moving northwest and is submerging beneath the Aleutian Trench. This causes movement around the Pacific Ring of Fire, including Nepal and California.

While we know there is a greater chance of an earthquake occurring around the Pacific Ocean, what we don’t know is when these earthquakes will strike. And at the end of the day, there really is no way to tell because there isn’t any way to predict earthquakes as of now- we can only predict them moments before their occurrence, if that.