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Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Pacheco

Feel that Westside earthquake last night? Seismologist Dr. Lucy Jones is here to make us all feel better.

Michael Juliano
Written by
Michael Juliano

For a region that experiences about 10,000 earthquakes each year, you'd think we'd all be a little less startled every time the ground shakes. But of course that wasn't the case when a modest magnitude 3.1 quake shook Santa Monica last night around 10:30pm and lit up Twitter and Reddit shortly after.

We get it—hundreds of magnitude 3.0-plus earthquakes shake Southern California each year, but relatively few of them make their way to the Westside. Here, for example, is a map of all of the earthquakes over the past 30 days that have registered over a 2.5.

Map courtesy USGS

It's at this point that Dr. Lucy Jones typically comes in to relieve our fears. The retired seismologist spent decades as the public voice of the United States Geological Survey, a reassuring source of comfort and knowledge post-quake, no matter the size. Seriously, just Google "earthquake lady" and Dr. Jones is the top hit.

And even retirement won't stop Dr. Jones from being the sane and authoritative voice we need to stomp down our social media-sparked earthquake fears.

On why the epicenter's location isn't unusual:


On its likelihood of spawning more quakes:


On why Westsiders may be a bit quicker to freak out about earthquakes:


And on the totally bogus notion of "earthquake weather":


So there you have it; just another earthquake in seismically active Southern California. Make sure you have an earthquake kit prepared, practice "drop, cover and hold on," and get back to worrying about the important stuff, like how to best Instagram some black-colored soft serve and a pool full of sprinkles.

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