Computers Goofed by 6,000 Miles on Quake

Russian quake mistaken for California tremor
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 25, 2008 2:50 AM CST
Seismic Network Field Engineer Mike Watkins studies a computer monitor at the California Institute of Technology that reveals seismic activity.   (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
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(Newser) – A huge earthquake under the ocean in one of the most remote parts of the planet was erroneously detected by US computers yesterday as tremors in California and Idaho, reports the Los Angeles Times. The US Geological Survey's National Earthquake Information Center corrected the error within minutes, but the goof-up underscores quake-reading computer glitches that could have serious consequences.

The earthquake occurred beneath Siberia's Sea of Okhotsk. "It happens with a particular circumstance—when there's an earthquake that's far away that's very deep," said a seismologist. "Our computer was briefly confused."