People who live near the Hanson Material Service quarry in McCook have been able to sleep easy the past few months, knowing that blasting had been halted in the wake of a 3.2 earthquake on Nov. 4, 2013.
The quake wasn’t a big one, by California standards, but it was noticeable particularly in the area around McCook, Countryside, Brookfield and LaGrange. In addition to shaking buildings, it also caused some minor damage.
As of this week, the blasting ban is over. After analyzing data, the quarry has determined there’s no direct link between its blasting and the earthquake, even though the tremor happened just seconds after a blast and even though there’s at least one other seismic event that been recorded in the immediate aftermath of blasting.
Statistically speaking, the number of seismic events is minuscule compared to the number of blasts at the quarry. We get that. But it does give the feeling of playing Russian roulette.
We’re glad that the United States Geological Survey has set up what looks to be a somewhat permanent monitoring station at the quarry, even if the conditions in which the seismograph is installed could be better.
Scientists are now cognizant that something is going on here that isn’t quite normal and want as much seismic data as possible to determine what’s going on beneath the bedrock. And the situation has the attention of the local Congressman, who says he’s determined to keep an eye on the situation there.
All of that bodes well for residents, who rightfully worry about the kind of damage possible in the wake of a stronger tremor in the future. The odds may say that another quake is unlikely, but there are no guarantees as the blasting continues.