LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — A report of a major earthquake off the coast of Santa Barbara was actually a false alarm based on a quake that happened in 1925.
The U.S. Geological Survey sent out an email alert Wednesday afternoon saying a magnitude 6.8 quake had struck in the Pacific Ocean 10 miles west of Santa Barbara.
The event was promptly deleted from the USGS website, but screenshots of the page made their way around social media.
The report cause huge ripples on Twitter and in newsrooms across the country, but suspiciously no reports of anyone having felt the temblor.
A retraction was later posted on the agency’s social media pages.
USGS geophysicist Rafael Abreu says researchers were working on the 1925 earthquake when the mistaken alert went out.
Dr. Lucy Jones made light of the error, calling it a “software glitch”.
An official statement said the notification was “caused by a revision” of the 1925 quake and “was misinterpreted by software as a current event”.
The quake was reported just hours before a magnitude-6.8 quake rocked the coast of Guatemala.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)