At 7:38 a.m., an earthquake struck the South Coast of Santa Barbara County in California. It was initially reported as a 4.6 by the Richter scale and later upgraded by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to a 4.8 with a depth of 8.0 km. The quake was centered in the ocean 3 miles off the coast of Isla Vista, a popular neighborhood for university students and surfers galore.
According to NoozHawk, the tremor “struck suddenly and with a loud rumble” lasting only a few seconds with some mild swaying to follow. The LA Times reported that residents from Bakersfield to Manhattan Beach recalled feeling the tremor on USGS “Did you feel it?” website. Aftershocks listed on the USGS website included two of 2.6 magnitude at 7:50 a.m. and 8:38 a.m and one of 2.5 magnitde at 12:05 p.m. Santa Barbara County Fire reported that there were no immediate reports of injury.
Earthquakes have been known to cause tsunamis, ocean waves that can be generated by displacements in the sea floor. In the deep ocean, tsunamis emerge at only a few inches high and grow in size as they travel towards land and the ocean’s depth decreases. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) states that not all large undersea earthquakes generate tsunamis. In order for a tsunami to occur, an earthquake must cause significant vertical deformation of the seafloor (NOAA). Shallower, larger earthquakes increase the likelihood of a tsunami. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) evaluates an earthquakes potential to cause a tsunami by measuring the earthquakes location, depth, and magnitude. Earthquakes can cause tsunami swells but this depends upon the earthquakes location, depth, and magnitude.
Animation of a tsunami generated by an earthquake:
Video by the NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory.