In-depth analysis of Tuesday's earthquake

Posted at 3:05 PM, Feb 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-24 21:22:48-05

While Kern County had little to no damage as a result of Tuesday's 4.8 magnitude earthquake, a Caltech seismologist says that the earthquake stood out.

"This event was particulary deep," said Dr. Jen Andrews, a staff seismologist for Caltech's Seismological Lab.
"It was down around 22 kilometers which, statistically for our area, is quite deep."
22 kilometers is a little over 13 and a half miles. Andrews says that many of the California earthquakes peak at around 9 miles deep, depending on where the occur.
Earlier this month, 23ABC reported that USC released a study showing a correlation between oil fraching and a string of earthquakes that occurred in Kern County in 2005.
Andrews says that while Caltech doesn't necessarily track oil field operations, Tuesday's quake probably had nothing to do with fracking.
"These earthquakes were way deeper than any operations that would be occurring."
Instead, Andrews says that plate tectonics are most likely the reason for the earthquake.
Andrews explained that a strike slip fault occurred between the Pacific and North American plates.
"One side of the fault moves sideways relative to the other. This was a right lateral motion, which means if you stood on one side of the fault and you looked at the other side, you would see it moving to the right."
This right lateral motion is similar to what happens along the San Andreas Fault. So is this Tuesday's earthquake a sign that bigger quakes are on the horizon?
According to Andrews, no.
"At this point, there's no reason to believe that it is anything other than the normal earthquakes that we have here in Southern California because of our plate boundaries."