California 6.9 earthquake was number 8,329 in last 12 months

California's 6.9 magnitude on the Richter scale earthquake on the San Andreas fault line was just one of the 8,239 earthquakes that hit the state in the last 12 months.

Earthquake magnitudes are measured on an exponential scale, with each point of increase representing ten times more intensity.  California normally experiences about 20 temblors a day, but July 4 and 5 saw a "quake storm" with over 766 events.

Approximately 90 percent of all earthquakes and 80 percent of all volcanic eruptions in the world occur along the infamous volcanic "Ring of Fire."  The 25,000-mile horseshoe-shaped ring that runs along the western Pacific coast, across to the Polynesian Islands, and up the east coast of Asia has moved out of its approximately 65-year quiet period and into its 65-year active period.  The Ring is associated with a nearly continuous series of oceanic trenches, volcanic arcs, and volcanic belts that all can become active.

No deaths have been reported and minimal injuries in the latest big quake that occurred in a desolate area, but July 4 and 5 property damages could be over $60 million dollars.  Despite earthquakes being common in California, only 13% percent of homeowners have earthquake insurance, according to the California Department of Insurance.  Renter's and homeowner's insurance policies do not automatically provide coverage without purchasing an extra coverage rider.

According to Caltech, the July 5 temblor was the 14th strongest event in California history.  Centered about 150 miles northeast of Los Angeles, the event occurred as the result of a continuing "shallow strike slip faulting" in the crust of the North America plate.  The lateral slip "rupture" arose along the major boundary formed by the Pacific and North America plates that moves at an average of 48 millimeters per year. 

The Golden State Ring of Fire is part of an intense area impacted by the massive network of faults and branches that runs underneath California, Oregon, and Washington.  Eastern California has hosted numerous moderate-sized earthquakes and magnitude 5 or higher earthquakes over the last 40 years.  The most recent quake storm included only one other large event in the area, a 6.4-magnitude quake early Thursday morning.

Oregon State University volcanologists commented that the Ring of Fire always involves an oceanic plate collecting water-saturated sediments being shoved under the crust and uppermost mantle of a land plate.  

The December 8, 2014 South Napa Earthquake registered 6.0 on the Richter scale and hit a populated area.  As a result, one person died, 200 were hospitalized, and insurance losses were estimated in the range of $362 million to $1 billion.

Although one survey found that a stunning 36 percent of all Americans believe that increases in natural disasters in recent years are an indication of the biblical End Times, residents along the Pacific Rim can look forward to another six decades of learning about the exciting natural wonders the Ring of Fire has raged on the Earth over the last millennia.

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