“California is issuing a statewide warning,” and five communities – Westminster, Santa Ana, Long Beach, Newport Beach, and La Habra – should “be prepared for a sizable earthquake up to but not limiting a 7.4 magnitude tremor,” read a letter that purported to be from the US Geological Survey. However, the USGS denied it issued the letter and asserted that the “sizable earthquake” of which the letter warned was a hoax.
The letter, which included the agency’s logo, was sent to area residents and was also circulated online. In a post on its Facebook Page, the USGS said it was aware of the letter that “uses our logo.” The agency said, “USGS had no part in this letter or any alleged alert.” Moreover, the USGS noted that it does not predict earthquakes. For the latest earthquake information, the agency advised residents to check the USGS website.
Citizens in Southern California have been a bit edgy as of late and would be an easy target for pranksters, having been shaken by several sizable earthquakes and at least 100 smaller pre-shocks and aftershocks.