Guatemala natural disaster: 6.8 magnitude shock strikes off Pacific coast

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A 6.8-magnitude quake reportedly hit the Pacific Ocean about 10 miles from Santa Barbara, Calif., the U.S. Geological Survey alert stated.

Wednesday's false alarm listed the quake as taking place on June 29 - the same day as the 1925 event.

"That's a mistake", Egill Hauksson, a Caltech seismologist, told the Los Angeles Times.

Did you get a mobile news alert for a 6.8 magnitude quake out of Santa Barbara on Wednesday?

Turns out, Quakebot generates automated stories based on alerts sent out by the U.S. Geological Survey, so when the USGS accidentally sent out an alert, Quakebot went to work.

The culprit for the erroneous report was Quakebot - an automated software programme created to report on earthquakes when official alerts are issued.

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"It's a very odd mistake", Turner said.

The Times' "Quakebot" is an algorithm that uses USGS data to write and publish news stories on the newspaper's website any time an natural disaster happens. The Los Angeles Times quickly deleted the tweet and published an article explaining what had occurred.

The fake quake never appeared on the USGS website. The system misinterpreted it as a current event, prompting an alert to be sent out.

It apologised for causing any alarm and said it was "working to resolve the issue".

Santa Barbara has suffered numerous serious earthquakes through the decades, and there are several faults that cross through the area.

Such an early prediction would truly shake up the field of seismology.

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