Quakes Continue To Rattle Kern County Mountains

LAKE ISABELLA, Calif. (AP) - More tiny earthquakes rattled under
mountains at the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley on Friday, but authorities said earthen dams that hold Lake Isabella were safe.

The quakes, measuring from magnitude-1.4 to 2.3, were centered about a dozen miles south of the town of Lake Isabella and 34 miles
east of Bakersfield. On Thursday, a magnitude-4.4 quake was
followed by many others including a 3.7, two 3.5s and a 3.3.

The lake is a man-made reservoir on the Kern River with a main dam and auxiliary dam dating to the 1950s. Concerns raised in recent years about the integrity of the auxiliary dam have led the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to work on updating maps of where flooding would occur in the Bakersfield area in the event of a failure.

Bakersfield has a population of more than 270,000.

The Kern County Fire Department said the Corps of Engineers was
monitoring the geological situation.

"They have checked both dams and instrumentation following the initial earthquake with no findings of concern," a Fire Department statement said. Engineers also responded to Thursday night's 3.7 quake, it said.

While studying the Lake Isabella problem, the Corps of Engineers has determined that the Isabella dams meet safety guidelines if the reservoir is not filled more than 60 percent, and it is currently at about 19 percent of capacity, according to the Fire Department Web site.

Lake Isabella is about 100 miles north of Los Angeles.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-05-02-08 2235EDT

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