Scientists working at Caltech in Pasadena, California, say that earthquakes may not be limited to the earth’s crust, according to an article recently published on Science Alert. They now believe that earthquakes can occur in the earth’s upper mantle.
So far, the team has just discovered smaller earthquakes in the crust, but there is disagreement over how strong these earthquakes that are undetectable using traditional seismic equipment may become. Some scientists believe that earthquakes occurring in the earth’s mantle will remain less than a 2 calling them localized chatter that cannot group themselves together to form a massive earthquake. Others suggest that they may become stronger than any earthquake that has happened so far.
Researchers started looking at this phenomena after a 8.6 earthquake occurred in the Indian Ocean on April 12, 2016. This earthquake did not occur in line with traditional theories. Therefore, scientists had to start looking for a new hypothesis. The earthquake did, however, occur along a fault line similar to those found in the San Andes fault line and the Newport-Inglewood fault lines.
Meanwhile, scientists with the Southern California Earthquake Center said at the National Earthquake Conference that they believe that a major earthquake may occur along the San Andes fault very soon. The Pacific plate is moving northwest at a rate of 16 feet every 100 years while the North America plate is not moving. Therefore, tension is being created under California. If a major earthquake occurs in this area, then scientists say that it could kill 1,800 people, injure over 50,000, cause $200 billion in property damage and cause six months of compromised sewer system problems. They are most worried about the damage spreading towards Los Angeles, although they say damage in the Coachella Valley, Island Empire and Antelope Valley would be extensive.
Scientists have also announced that they have found a new fault line under the Salton Sea. They believe that this fault line may be taking pressure off the San Andreas fault which is why major quakes have not recently occurred there. This new fault line has recently been rumbling producing 300 small earthquakes last week.