Thousand Palms Residents React To “Earth Day” Earthquake

Vincenzo Marino

An earthquake rattled the Coachella Valley early Sunday night and people as far away as San Diego say they felt it too.

For people in Thousand Palms, Sunday’s 3.9 magnitude earthquake rumbled more than a few dishes.

“The whole house, I mean the wall, the ceiling the door, the whole thing just kind of shacked a little,” said Thousand Palms resident Danny Morin.

“Sitting in the garage working on something and all of a sudden I hear a nice little rumbling noise and it comes along and starts shaking me. I looked up and see my TV shaking a little bit and I said ‘yup, that’s an earthquake,” said Thousand Palms resident Kevin Johnson.

But seismologists say predicting the next earthquake is nearly impossible.

“We cannot predict earthquakes. There is no method that anyone has found and people have tried pretty much every possible way to predict earthquakes,” said Dr. Jennifer Andrews, staff seismologist at the California Institute of Technology.

Seismic activity doesn’t necessarily mean a major earthquake is imminent … While the 7.9 magnitude earthquake in San Francisco in 1906 was foreshadowed by a major fore-shock. The 6.7 magnitude earthquake in Northridge in 1994 on the other hand, came with no warning at all.

“It varies we do have earthquakes where we see some fore-shock activity, for the Northridge earthquake, there wasn’t any. There was nothing. We didn’t see any of that…the Northridge earthquake really took everyone by surprise,” said Andrews.

And while smaller earthquakes like the one on Sunday in Thousand Palms relieve some tension underground, it does not mean the big one will be any smaller.

“There’s really no definite pattern that we can look to and say ‘right, the big one is on its way,” said Andrews.

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