PASADENA, Calif. -- A moderate earthquake was reported Tuesday in the Southern California desert where seismologists say a swarm of small tremors is raising concerns.
The U.S. Geological Survey reported a quake measuring 4.7 on the Richter scale shook the remote Salton Sea area, about 145 miles east of San Diego, Tuesday morning.
While the Imperial County desert is sparsely populated, scientists have been watching closely due to the possibility the quake swarm could be aggravating the nearby San Andreas Fault, which runs through the Los Angeles area.
The Los Angeles Times says the Salton Sea quakes appear to be centered in an area where several faults intersect, which could allow energy from the temblors to be transferred to the San Andreas Fault, which is widely expected to some day produce the "Big One" in the Los Angeles area.
Seismologists told the Times that while the phenomenon bears watching, quake swarms aren't particularly unusual. At the same time, it is possible for an earthquake in one area to trigger a quake in another area a short time later.
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