Several Southern Californian residents were likely woken up by a series of tremors at around 2 a.m. this morning. The light earthquake reportedly hit an area just 31 miles southeast of Anaheim. According to the United States Geological Survey, the relatively small earthquake had a magnitude of 4.0 and was pinpointed at a depth of about six miles underground. Residents who felt the tremors immediately went on social media to confirm whether or not what they felt was indeed an earthquake. As of this writing, there have been no reports of major structural damage or injuries within the affected area.
The early morning earthquake in southern California is the most recent occurrence to have been observed within the Pacific Ring of Fire. Just in the past few days, there has already been a number of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions that have been reported. Mount Sinabung in Indonesia, a volcano which has been dormant for over 400 years, began erupting in 2010, following by another eruption in 2016 and then again in 2017. This was then swiftly followed by several other eruptions, which includes the eruption of a volcano in Papua New Guinea. This week, the Ring of Fire activities seems to have escalated with a number of eruptions and quakes being reported within just days of each other.
The latest activity was a massive 8.2 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Alaska, which occurred just two days before the South California earthquake this morning. The powerful earthquake was felt throughout the west coast, Canada, and even in Hawaii. This was preceded by the sudden volcanic eruption of Mount Kusatsu-Shirane in Japan and Mount Mayon in the Philippines. The volcanoes and the epicenters of the recent quakes are all located within the Pacific Ring of Fire.
To curb the growing concern of additional Ring of Fire activities and the spread of rumors of an impending global natural disaster, scientists have taken to social media to explain the recent occurrences. Dr. Janine Krippner, A New Zealand volcanologist, mentioned in a post on Twitter that everything that has been happening is totally “normal,” and that the Ring of Fire is actually constantly moving and extremely active.
It's not referred to as the "ring of fire" because it sits there doing nothing. It is a constantly-moving, very active (and huge) area full of faults and active volcanoes. It is normal to have so much activity. https://t.co/GjY5wFBWZF
— Dr Janine Krippner (@janinekrippner) January 24, 2018
The Pacific Ring of Fire itself is an area within the basin of the Pacific Ocean that contains the majority of the world’s above-ground volcanoes. This is mainly due to the fact that the area is where the oceanic plates slide underneath the continental plates. According to scientists, the frequency of the eruptions and quakes have not necessarily increased contrary to the public’s perception. Due to the widespread use of social media and better observation equipment, any such occurrence involving quakes and eruptions are immediately being reported.
I did a quick plot at lunch time with data from GVP.
Oh, surprise, no significant increment of annual number of eruptions since observations are global and reliable. It's the perception what changes. pic.twitter.com/AxNeaXI9iC
— Jorge ???????? (@lithospheric) January 24, 2018