LOS ANGELES, Nov. 24 (Xinhua) -- A 7.0-magnitude earthquake in Russia's Sea of Okhotsk caused seismographs in California to misinterpret the data as indicating temblors in the southern and central portions of the state, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
The quake, with an epicenter about 1,260 miles (2,016 kilometers) north-northeast of Tokyo, struck at 1:03 a.m. PST, according to the USGS.
Computer-generated reports following the Russian earthquake indicated that two small quakes had struck California nearly simultaneously. According to the reports, the first was a 3.8-magnitude temblor recorded at 1:12 a.m., its epicenter 6 miles (9.6 kilometers) north-northeast of Darwin in Inyo County of Southern California and 130 miles (208 kilometers) west of Las Vegas.
Other computer-generated reports said a quake struck 12 seconds later 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) north-northwest of Big Bear City in San Bernardino County near Los Angeles and 80 miles (128 kilometers) east-northeast of downtown Los Angeles.
But seismologists later examined the computer-generated reports and determined the information was incorrect, said USGS geophysicist Carrie Ann Bedwell.
Large quakes, 7.0 or greater, can cause seismographs to erroneously interpret data, said Bedwell.
The USGS withdrew the computer-generated reports early Monday morning, issuing two e-mail updates -- one on the Southland quake, the other on the one in Central California. "This event has been deleted after review by a seismologist," each stated.