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    Quake Activity At Mammoth Lakes Area


    Don in Hollister

    Posts : 137
    Join date : 2010-02-17
    Age : 83
    Location : Hollister, California

    Quake Activity At Mammoth Lakes Area

    Post  Don in Hollister on Sun 23 May 2010, 9:13 am

    Hi All. This from Dr. Lowell Whiteside. I don't think he will mind it to very much if I use it and tell you a little secret.

    Dr. Lowell Whiteside:

    “An earthquake swarm hit the region of Mammoth Lakes , California today with events of M 3.1, 3.2, 2.7, 2.2, 2.9 ... . This is the first time in the past three years when two events of M > 3 have hit this area of California in the same day. The swarm in 2007 started on May 25, 2007 with events of M 3.2, 3.3 and 3.4 and continued with a maximum earthquake of M 4.6 on June 12, 2007. The area often becomes active with renewed solar and geomagnetic activity and often shows activity in mid-May. For example, the last moderately large earthquake swarm in the area started on May 15, 1999 with an M 5.6. Observant readers may note this is 11 years ago, the solar period. Likewise the strongest series of earthquakes in this area hit beginning on May 25, 1980 a week after the Mt. St. Helen's eruption, with a series of event of magnitude greater than 6. This led to considerable speculation at the time about a connection between the two areas. The USGS predicted a possible volcanic episode for the area which led the local Chamber of Commerce to complain that they were driving customers away and leading to considerable rancor regarding such predictions in general. The series eventually died down and the political implications of predicting a volcanic eruption for a popular resort became less vocal. Some claim this was the impetus for the 1997 movie "Dante's Peak" which showed a fictitious volcanic eruption at a popular resort. This may have led to California ’s restrictive prediction laws. On a personal note, several years ago, I was on a bicycle trip and happened to pass near this area, so I decided to head into the actual site of these earthquakes. At the time there was a single dirt road leading to the area. It is a rather barren and uninteresting parcel of hilly land. While I tented in the area for a night I was not fortunate enough to experience an earthquake there.”

    To date in the last 2 days there have been 18 quakes within a 5 mile radius. Nothing unusual about this except like most of the others it started in May. I don't believe the Mt. Saint Helens eruption had anything to do with the activity that start at Long Valley Caldera one week after Mt. Saint Helens erupted. However I do believe that what caused Mt. Saint Helens to erupt also caused the activity at Long Valley Caldera and that is plate movement. When we had the increase in quake activity in the Adobe Hills area just to the north of Long Valley activity increase at Mt. Saint Helens. I drove up to the Adobe Hills area and I felt the quakes and I could see cracks running in the earth. One other thing. The area is loaded with cinder cones. There must be around 30 there. Pretty good indication that there has been past volcanic activity in that area that is not associated with Long Valley, or so it appears.

    Mt. Saint Helens is a subduction volcano. Long Valley Caldera isn't nor is it a hot spot volcano. There is some speculation that it is a fissure volcano and since it is located in a shear zone it could very well be that is what it is. Think about it. Under the right conditions it could become another Deccan Traps, or Siberian Traps which could run all the way from Long Valley to the Salton Sea and could erupt non-stop for a million years. At present time there is no way to tell or know if this could ever happen. At the current rate of movement none of us will ever be around to see that happen, but there are some that could see another eruption at Long Valley. It might not be any larger then the ones that occurred 250 to 500 years ago, but they could see it.

    The California Gull is using one as a nesting area as it is impossible for predators to get to them. That almost happened a number of years ago when the LA basin stopped all the water flow from going into Mono Lake. The island the gulls nest on is still nice and warm. It makes a perfect nesting area for them. The name of the Island is Paoha Island. One other thing. It is almost impossible to drown in Mono Lake. There is another volcano in the lake, but it is much smaller and it is a cinder cone. It's name is Negit Island. Paoha is still active. It still spouts steam from vents and there are hot springs.

    As for the little secret. To the best of my knowledge Petra and I are the only two that know it. If Lowell wants everyone to know what it is it will have to be him to tell you what it is. When Petra and I think about it we laugh until our sides hurt. Take Care...Don

    Posts : 116
    Join date : 2010-02-17
    Age : 67
    Location : Chatsworth, CA

    Thanks Don!!!

    Post  Nightmoves on Sun 23 May 2010, 8:47 pm

    Don, I always enjoy your posts and your knowledge. It also sounds like you have had some great memories. I am so glad you continue to share them with all of us. Many thanks. Very Happy

    Gail I love you

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