No, Santa Barbara Did Not Have A Massive 6.8 Earthquake On Wednesday

The only tremors from a reported major quake off the California coast came on the internet.

A magnitude 6.8 quake struck off the coast of Guatemala around 6:31 a.m. Thursday (8:31 a.m. EDT), the U.S. Geological Survey reports.

Previously, updates would have to be run by a person, and Jones said that takes too much time in the case of a real emergency.

The LA Times reports that the alert was originally sent by a Caltech staffer, who was trying to correct the location of an natural disaster that struck Santa Barbara in 1925.

A magnitude 6.8 quake hit the Pacific coast off Guatemala, news agency AP quoted the US Geological Survey as saying.

The Los Angeles Times had to retract an automated news story and an accompanying tweet Wednesday after it reported a 6.8 magnitude quake in Isla Vista, California.

The country's civil protection authority said four people were injured but no one was reported dead due to the quake. TheWashington Post reports that email alert automatically generated a story on the Times site through an algorithm called Quakebot. They often use alerts from the USGS to begin their reports. The Times sent out tweets explaining the mistake and blaming the original USGS alert.

The agency also apologised for causing any alarm and said it was "working to resolve the issue".

California is a hotbed of earthquakes and it needs reliable automated alert systems.

Such an early prediction would truly shake up the field of seismology.

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