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California Earthquake Reminds Us That It Can Happen Here Too

Last updated on Wednesday, July 30, 2008

(BLOOMINGTON) - Indiana University seismologist Michael Hamburger says Tuesday’s earthquake in California was similar to the one that hit Indiana in April.

He says one critical factor is where earthquakes occur and this one appears to have hit an area with a smaller population. Hamburger says the potential for earthquake damage in urban areas is great.

California earthquakes are different than those in the Midwest, according to Hamburger, because of the character of the earth's crust and the soil above it. Hamburger says the earth's crust is relatively thin and weak in California and that part of the country and seismic waves don't travel as efficiently over very long distances.

He says the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone, which includes Southwestern Indiana, has a history of earthquake activity much lower than in places like California. But we're reminded every few years that an earthquake comparable to the one that hit California Tuesday happens here about once every 10 years or so.

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