California on high alert as strange seismic activity at San Andreas Fault suggests a major earthquake may be imminent
04/12/2024 // Kevin Hughes // Views

Authorities in California have been put on high alert as scientists warn that recent seismic activity near the small town of Parkfield suggests that a major earthquake in that section of the San Andreas Fault could occur soon.

Parkfield, an unincorporated community with fewer than 20 residents, is known as the "earthquake capital of the world" because of how it sits almost right on top of the San Andreas Fault. The well-known fault line going from north to south of the Golden State is scheduled to have a major tremor soon, and researchers are watching Parkfield intently as the possible epicenter.

Luca Malagnini, director of research at the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in Italy, noted that he expects there will be an earthquake in the area around Parkfield sometime this year, as measurements in the area are behaving strangely, suggesting a coming tremor.

Malagnini said the change in attenuation measurements has fallen very low since 2021, and that this happened before the last rupture there on Sep. 28, 2004.

"We are waiting," Malagnini said, noting that Parkfield is currently at the tail end of one of its quiet periods in approximately 22-year-long seismic cycle.

"We note that between 2001 and the end of 2003 the variance of the attenuation parameter went up significantly, before dropping at the end of 2003, in coincidence with the occurrence of the San Simeon earthquake," reads a study co-authored by Malagnini. "A somehow similar increase in variance started in 2011 and lasted roughly until the beginning of 2020. Finally, in mid-2021 the variance of the attenuation parameter on the Pacific side of the [San Andreas Fault] went down to very small values and never recovered its level ever since."

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Malagnini won't be attempting to predict the next quake down to the day, but he hopes that after it occurs, he and his team can come out with signals to search for in the future.

"I'll be waiting for the next earthquake. And then we'll look back," Malagnini said. (Related: The Big One is coming: New study suggests California could be hit by a major earthquake soon.)

Researchers keeping an eye on Parkfield

Researchers like Malagnini are continuing to watch Parkfield closely in hopes of finding activity that will help them predict with a little bit more certainty whne the next quake will occur.

Scientists are working on being able to detect reliable precursors to earthquakes, such as strain on rocks or changes in permeability under the surface, which would help these scientists warn people about imminent destructive seismic activity and possibly save lives.

From historical trends, quakes near Parkfield tend to be around magnitude six, which can cause some significant damage to property and potentially several injuries.

The town is an important location for earthquakes because it sits in a transitional zone, with the faultline directly to the town's south locked. This means the Pacific Plate and the North American tectonic plates on either side of the line do not move against one another.

Meanwhile, directly north of Parkfield, the plates move freely and cause a lot of earthquakes, making the town move at a rate of around 1.4 inches per year.

Follow for more stories about earthquakes happening in America.

Watch the video below about how Lake Cahuilla could trigger the next massive earthquake along California's San Andreas Fault.

This video is from the Alex Hammer channel on

More related articles:

Is the “Big One” coming soon? Southern California struck by 13 earthquakes in 25 minutes.

Historic rains and flooding push California fault lines toward the “Big One.”

Pair of massive 7.5 magnitude EARTHQUAKES shake Taiwan, trigger tsunami warnings.

A “great swarm” of earthquakes off the Washington Coast is raising concerns that the Cascadia Subduction Zone could blow.

In the past week, California and Nevada experienced 945 earthquakes in post-atmospheric river shaking phenomenon.

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