It started innocently enough: We received an email from a friend, who said it came from another friend, warning of an imminent earthquake in Los Angeles. "My buddy's wife works at the seismology dept. in L.A. and they called everyone in today and said get your kids out of school and stock up on water because there is going to be a major quake within 24 hours," the original text states.
The only problem is there is no "seismology dept. in L.A.," and, as far as anyone at leading earthquake research centers such as Caltech and the U.S. Geological Survey can safely predict, earthquake prediction will only happen in the future: It's not quite here yet.
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As Matt Coker at sister paper OC Weekly points out, the twitterverse is abuzz with such a prediction, which has been sourced back to Luke Thomas, a long-time "quake quack" who says he can tell you when the big one's coming -- and that he has done it before. Except his track record is mixed at best.
His latest mention of Armageddon -- actually his own prediction is much more conservative than some emails and Twitter posts suggest -- states that a 5.0 to 6.5 shaker will rock the Los Angeles region today through Friday.
Of course, Thomas' timing seems to lack some imagination. There was that little 7.2 felt across the entire Southwest on April 4. And a swarm of 17 aftershocks measuring 3.0 and higher hit the Imperial Valley region Sunday. Earthquakes are on everyone's mind.
So we'll prepare, just in case this kook is right: We're buying beer. Plenty of beer.