Nick Scheckel, seismic analyst at the California Institute of Technology’s seismological laboratory in Pasadena, indicated that the 9:55 a.m. quake had an estimated magnitude of 4.7 on the Richter Scale. He also indicated that numerous aftershocks were occurring.
The epicenter was located about a dozen miles from the Riverside County desert community of Anza, about 100 miles southeast of Los Angeles.
“It’s extremely unlikely that there’s damage from this earthquake,” said Lucy Jones, a seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Pasadena.
Jones said there would be strong shaking directly on top of the epicenter but not much farther away.
“At most, there might be some places where things were thrown off shelves, but that might be the extent of the damage,” she said.
The Washington Post also reported that a much stronger earthquake with a 6.7 magnitude occurred in Papua New Guinea on March 10, but like the lesser quake in Southern California, there were no immediate reports of damage and no regional tsunami alert.
Chris McKee, the assistant director of the Geophysical Observatory in Port Moresby, said that since the earthquake’s epicenter was relatively deep and located some distance offshore that it was unlikely to have caused major problems.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the quake struck Monday morning about 320 kilometers (198 miles) north of the capital Port Moresby and was centered about 84 kilometers (52 miles) below sea level.
Papua New Guinea is on the “Ring of Fire” — an arc of earthquake and volcanic zones that stretches around the Pacific Rim, where most of the world’s seismic activity occurs.
Earthquakes as Signs
Just as many see the increasing occurrences of meteors and asteroids as signs of the end times, so do others who also note the increasing frequency of earthquakes in various places, as additional signs appearing before Jesus Christ returns.
Bill Salus, radio host and author, points out that a number of teachers and students of end time prophecies, often reference the words of Jesus:
"You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains." (Matthew 24:6-8 NIV)
In essence Christ declared that the last days would be characterized by powerful prophetic events that hit humanity with increased frequency and increased intensity, just like the birth contractions before a baby is born.
Steven A. Austin and Mark L. Strauss discuss the controversy generated by such Christian writers and Bible teachers who maintain that Jesus predicted that an increase in frequency and intensity of earthquakes would occur prior to his return. The authors also analyze and interpret scientific data regarding the so-called increased frequency and increased intensity of earthquakes. In addition, Austin and Strauss expound upon the Mount Olivet discourse, the often quoted passages spoken by Jesus regarding occurrences on Earth prior to his return and the Tribulation, in their attempt to clarify the matter of earthquakes in various places as signs of the end times.
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