Blue Dot 156: The Ridgecrest Earthquakes: Pondering A Tectonic Riddle

Aug 23, 2019

We examine the complex series of fault ruptures and earthquakes that struck near Ridgecrest in Southern California over the July 4 weekend of 2019. A 6.4 magnitude temblor on the evening of July 4 was followed by in even bigger magnitude 7.1 event just over 24 hours later that may have been triggered in a process called cross faulting during the earlier quake.

Dave talks to our good friend Ken Hudnut, a seismologist for the United States Geological Survey, who explains the proposed mechanism of cross faulting that may have triggered the second quake and how this part of California is of such interest to both seismologists and scientists interested in the idea that there may be a new plate boundary, known as "The Walker Lane" may be  experiencing its birthpangs in the Southern California desert.



We also talk to Ridgecrest Chief of Police Jed McLauhghlin about dealing with the aftermath of a seismic disaster from the frayed nerves of residents to the onslaught of reporters that descended on a mostly sleep little town.


Finally, Jacob Margolis, science reporter for KPCC in Pasadena and the host of The Big One podcasts talks about how this event was a much needed wake up call for the LA area as it watches at waits for the expected large rupture and subsequent earthquake on the "locked and loaded" segment of the San Andreas Fault in Southern California.