Hoax earthquake warning across Southern California

A fake letter that used a logo and signature of a real person circulated on the web warning of a coming earthquake. The USGS puts and end to that.

USGS Warns Residents Of Bogus Earthquake Alert Letter

A bogus letter circulating online is warning Southland residents about an impending earthquake.

The hoax letter, which uses a U.S. Geological Survey logo, states, in part, “Please be advised as of this morning, March 31, 2014, the state of California is issuing a statewide warning as we have just received information from the state’s Seismic Warning Systems urging residents in the following areas to be prepared for a sizable earthquake, up to, but not limiting, a 7.4-magnitude tremor.”

In a statement on Facebook, the USGS wrote, “USGS is aware of a letter circulating on the Internet that uses our logo and warns of an impending sizable earthquake in Southern California. USGS had no part in this letter or any alleged alert. USGS does not predict earthquakes. USGS distributes reliable and timely scientific information on earthquakes and makes it all available to the public.”

The USGS deals with probabilities, not predictions. We still can’t predict earthquakes with any such accuracy.

The fake letter that contained poor grammar, spelling and punctuation, was “signed” by George Dickson with Seismic Warning Systems, Inc., an actual company that develops, manufactures and markets early warning earthquake devices. They do not predict events, just warn of early movement with alarms. They have posted a statement on their site by Mr. Dickson saying it is “unfortunate” this happened to cause undue alarm.

Screenshot of the letter. Notice the errors.

Screenshot of the letter. Notice the errors.

The hoax came 5.1 magnitude event occurred Friday centered in La Habra. It was felt across the Los Angeles area.

That an earthquake will happen here is not disputable – it is a highly active seismic area. But we can not be precise. Geological organizations get COUNTLESS claims from people who claim to be able to predict earthquakes by various means – both psychic and “scientifical”. None are reliable.

There is no word who may have created this hoax.

  2 comments for “Hoax earthquake warning across Southern California

  1. Graham
    April 2, 2014 at 11:44 PM

    Is the missing word in “The hoax [WORD] came 5.1 magnitude event…”, “before” or “after”?

    Not that it matters either way this stunt would cause serious panic.

  2. Brian
    April 3, 2014 at 5:40 AM

    What are the chances these hoax letters targeted places that someone wanted to rob when these people evacuated?

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