x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Quakes hit California and New Zealand

Two earthquakes strike, causing no damage or injury, but geologists say a major quake is almost certain to rock California.

A 4.7-magnitude earthquake shook central California early this morning, less than a week after a pair of similar temblors rattled the highly populated southern part of the state. Soon after a powerful earthquake also hit the Kermadec islands north of New Zealand. The United States Geological Survey said the California quake struck at 1.58am at a depth of just 0.1km, and occurred about 11 kilometres from the town of Keeler, and 320km north of Los Angeles. There were no immediate reports of injuries or major damage.

The reading was based on the open-ended Moment Magnitude scale, now used by US seismologists, which measures the area of the fault that ruptured and the total energy released. A 4.1-magnitude tremor rattled Los Angeles last Tuesday, two days after another 4.7 earthquake that struck the densely populated area and put the sprawling California metropolis on edge. Geologists say an earthquake capable of causing widespread destruction is 99 per cent certain of hitting California within the next 30 years.

The earthquake that struck the remote Kermadec islands north of New Zealand had a 6.1-magnitude, according to seismologists. The quake struck at 3:58am 270km south of Raoul Island at a depth of just 12.5km, the US Geological Survey said. No tsunami warning was immediately issued. Earthquakes and volcanic activity are common in the area, which is part of the "Ring of Fire" where the Pacific plate of the earth's crust meets other continental plates. The Kermadec islands, 1,000km north of New Zealand, are uninhabited apart from Raoul, where New Zealand's Department of Conservation maintains a field station.

* AFP