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SEAL BEACH : Seismic Study Wakes Some Up With a Thud

October 29, 1994|RUSS LOAR

The city did not drop into the ocean, a major earthquake was not triggered, and the military wasn't hiding anything at the Naval Weapons Station shortly after 3:10 a.m. Friday, when explosives were set off in a hole about 140 feet under the base.

Despite the concerns of some Seal Beach residents, the U.S. Geological Survey experiment to map hidden fault lines left local residents with little more than a dull thud.

"I was asleep and it woke me," said Seal Beach Councilman Bill Doane, who lives across from the Weapons Station at Leisure World. "It sounded like somebody rattling the dishes."

Helen Brown, wife of Mayor George Brown and also a Leisure World resident, said she and her husband slept through the blast. "We're aware of little, tiny earthquake shocks when they happen, but we did not hear or feel anything," she said.

Weapons Station spokesman Joe Davidson said he received one telephone call from a Huntington Harbour resident who felt the blast. Davidson was about 400 feet from the blast early Friday morning.

"I heard the thud of the blast, then sort of a rolling effect, then a geyser of water shot up from the hole," Davidson said.

It was the last in a series of about 60 explosions that began Wednesday morning in Barstow and continued southeast to Seal Beach. Scientists hope to discover where major earthquakes are most likely to occur by tracking sound waves from the explosions on seismographs.

"There was some concern that we might trigger an earthquake, but we've had no complaints about the actual explosions," said seismologist Jim Mori. Mori added that it will take about two years to analyze data gathered from the experiment.

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