No, the 'big one' isn't hitting California

A magnitude 6.8 quake struck off of Guatemala's Pacific coast Thursday, the US Geological Survey reports.

That's hardly unprecedented. But this case was different: It was the Los Angeles telling the public there had been a 6.8 magnitude natural disaster in Isla Vista, California, even though no such quake had taken place.

On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Times, for example, sent out a story on the quake that it had to quickly correct.

A staffer at Caltech mistakenly sent out an alert for a large magnitude 6.8 quake off the Santa Barbara coast - from 1925. The shaker was centered near Kensington Elementary School and was felt in nearby El Cerrito and in Berkeley, USGS reported. Within a half-hour, a more detailed statement appeared on its website clarifying the software issue. Software interpreted the Caltech revision as a current, not a historic, event - so sent out a mass email.

On June 14, a magnitude 6.9 tremor hit Guatemala and southern Mexico, leaving five people dead, causing power outages and knocking down homes.

California is a hotbed of earthquakes and it needs reliable automated alert systems.

Let's just hope they were wrong about any quakes in 2025 too.

Such an early prediction would truly shake up the field of seismology.

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