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USGS sends out alert about 6.8-magnitude earthquake - from 1925

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Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America
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Mission Santa Barbara in 1925, after an earthquake epicentered near Isla Vista.

The US Geological Survey sent out an alert Wednesday afternoon that a 6.8-magnitude earthquake had struck off the coast near Isla Vista--except the earthquake actually occurred in June of 1925.

 

The USGS quickly issued a correction that no recent earthquake had occurred. It usually sends out alerts over email to those who subscribe online about very recent earthquakes.  

 

Jessica Turner from the USGS said the alert was triggered after software misinterpreted a data correction in the location of the nearly 92-year-old quake.

 

“It’s a very strange mistake,” Turner said.

 

The Earthquake Notification System email said that the earthquake had occurred on June 29, 2025. Turner said the USGS is working to figure out why it was sent out with that year instead of the year the earthquake actually occurred.

 

The 1925 earthquake caused about $8 million in damage and 13 deaths, according to the Southern California Earthquake Data Center. It also caused significant damage to the Historic Mission Santa Barbara.

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