Tuesday, January 17 , 2017, 2:24 am | Fair 44º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Small Earthquake Mistakenly Reported Off Carpinteria Coast

A false earthquake alarm went out Monday morning for a small tremor that supposedly — but never actually — struck off the Carpinteria coastline.

The Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management sent out a public alert shortly after 10:30 a.m. Monday to notify residents of the 3.1-magnitude earthquake that hit approximately seven miles off the Carpinteria coastline, with no expected tsunami or shaking effects.

A short time later, at 11:22 a.m., the office issued a correction email and text message alert stating an earthquake did not occur.

David Flamm, emergency manager of the department office within the County Executive Office, told Noozhawk the correction was sent out through the Nixle Notification System after staff went to the U.S. Geological Survey website and failed to find an accompanying reading to verify the small seismic event.

Flamm said Monday marked the first time the emergency planning office has sent out a faulty quake alert, a glitch between the county and the USGS notification system. 

The local office receives earthquake notifications from the USGS and seismic-monitoring networks contributing to the Advance National Seismic System. Most of that same information is automatically posted to the USGS website or Earthquake Notification System if it meets quality standards, according to Paul Laustsen, a USGS spokesman.

Anomalies do exist within the system, Laustsen said, and sometimes something as insignificant in size as a cow walking by a seismometer could produce a false reading.

He could not say what caused Monday’s false alert, but said USGS is always working to improve its notification systems.

USGS’s website notes that alert data is preliminary, and that users should check the agency’s website for the most recent updates.

Locally, Flamm said the county office will take extra care to double check alert notifications in the future.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.



Reader Comments

Noozhawk encourages free expression, regardless of viewpoint, but requires that such expressions be civil in tone, respectful of other commenters and relevant to the stories on which they are posted. We reserve the right to remove any comment for any reason.

By posting on Noozhawk, you:

» Agree not to submit a comment that is abusive, defamatory, disrespectful, illegal, libelous, profane, vulgar or disparaging (whether on the basis of disability, ethnicity, gender, nationality, race, religion, sexual orientation, traits with which people are born, or otherwise).

» Agree not to submit a comment that attacks or threatens another person, threatens or promotes violence, wishes for harm to befall another person, invades another person's privacy or proprietary rights, or uses expletives (including veiled profanity).

» Agree not to stalk or harass another person, dominate the conversation, discourage participation by others, or bait, belittle, bicker with, mock or taunt others.

» Agree not to solicit others. You agree you will not use Noozhawk’s forums to solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites, without Noozhawk’s express written approval.

» Comments with spam or self-promotional links are not allowed. Comments that include links are automatically routed to a Pending queue. Regularly checking it is not a priority of ours.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >