Swarm of Quakes Near Temecula — Including One With Magnitude 4.4 — Sparks Interest From Scientists

A USGS map shows a magnitude 4.4 earthquake that struck about 20 miles east of Temecula on Aug. 14, 2018.

A USGS map shows a magnitude 4.4 earthquake that struck about 20 miles east of Temecula on Aug. 14, 2018.

Scientists are studying a prolific swarm of small earthquakes that recently generated a magnitude 4.4 earthquake about 20 miles east of Temecula.

The seismic swarm is not considered likely to be a foreshadowing of a large, damaging earthquake. The cluster of quakes is not particularly close to any major faults — it’s about halfway between the Elsinore and San Jacinto faults, said Caltech seismologist Egill Hauksson.

If the swarm did generate an earthquake, “it could be a magnitude 5. But anything bigger is highly unlikely,” Hauksson said.

This earthquake swarm has been going on for about two years and is particularly active, Hauksson said. There were previous seismic swarms in the area in the 1980s, but they were not followed by bigger events on other faults.

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