False alarm: USGS staffer accidentally sends 6.8 quake alert

LOS ANGELES - A report of a major earthquake off the California coast has turned out to be a false alarm based on a quake that happened in 1925.

The US Geological Survey sent out an email alert Wednesday afternoon saying a magnitude 6.8 quake had struck in the Pacific Ocean 10 miles west of Santa Barbara.

The report cause huge ripples on Twitter and in newsrooms across the country, but suspiciously no reports of anyone having felt the temblor.

USGS geophysicist Rafael Abreu says researchers were working on the 1925 earthquake when the mistaken alert went out.

“That’s a mistake. It’s not real,” Caltech seismologist Egill Hauksson told the LA Times.

According to the Times, the error happened when a staffer at Caltech tried to correct the exact location of the 1925 Santa Barbara earthquake 92 years ago, which was about 6 miles where records indicated. That inadvertently sent out an email out on the U.S. Geological Survey's email server that sends out alerts of new earthquakes.

© 2017 KING-TV


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