Hundreds of earthquakes hit in swarm near Salton Sea area

EARTHQUAKE SWARM: At least 240 small earthquakes, the largest measuring 4.9, shook desert communities near the Salton Sea Wednesday.
WESTMORLAND, Calif. -- A swarm of small earthquakes hit desert communities near the Salton Sea Wednesday afternoon.

The quakes were centered near Westmorland in the Imperial Valley, just southeast of the Salton Sea. That's roughly 180-200 miles southeast of Los Angeles and about 30 miles north of the Mexico border.

By 8 p.m. the USGS had recorded at least 240 quakes, with the largest hitting a magnitude of 4.9 at 5:31 p.m.



Seismologist Lucy Jones said the quakes are happening in the Brawley Seismic Zone, a network of small faults that connect the San Andreas and Imperial faults.

Historically, she said, the largest quake in that zone measured 5.8.

She said the zone is a common source of swarms and far enough from the San Andreas fault so that a quake closer to the Los Angeles area is not any more likely.

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