Is this a new warning for the California coast? A rare Pacific footballfish, a deep-sea anglerfish usually found at ocean depths of more than 2,000 feet, was found on beach in San Diego, California.
Jay Beiler, who captured these images encountered the fish on Torrey Pines State Beach. “At first I thought it was a — like a jellyfish or something, and then I went and looked at it a little more carefully, and some other people were gathered around it too, and then I saw that it was this very unusual fish. It’s the stuff of nightmares — mouth almost looked bloody! I’d say it was nearly a foot long.”
RARE SIGHTING: A rare deep-sea anglerfish, usually found at ocean depths of more than 2,000 feet where sunlight doesn’t penetrate, was found on a beach in San Diego, California, according to local reports.— CBS News (@CBSNews) November 30, 2021
📸: Jay Beiler via Storyful pic.twitter.com/72RAYWlH9V
The Scripps Institution of Oceanography reported the fish was a Pacific footballfish, one of the larger anglerfish species found throughout the Pacific Ocean. However, the species has only been seen “a few times” in California, said Ben Frable, manager of the marine vertebrate collection at Scripps.
The Pacific footballfish species live at depths between 2,000 to 3,300 feet, where sunlight doesn’t penetrate, according to the California Academy of Sciences. The fish use a fleshy, bioluminescent lure from their heads to attract prey.
Bluurrg! This awesome deep-sea-dwelling angler fish (also called football fish) was found washed up on a beach in San Diego. Very cool find, very rare. Animal Crossing says Nov, so that tracks. (h/t https://t.co/psx7zMh1ho) pic.twitter.com/sW8sFBzk6t— Sierra Godfrey (@sierragodfrey) November 30, 2021
The appearance of mysterious deep-sea fish washing up on the Ring of Fire’s coast have long been considered ominous harbingers for earthquakes. Legend claims oarfish, dubbed “messengers from the sea god’s palace” in Japanese, will rise and beach themselves ahead of an earthquake.
California is overdue for ‘The Big One’
California is about 80 years overdue for “The Big One”, the kind of massive earthquake that periodically rocks California as tectonic plates slide past each other along the 800-mile long San Andreas fault.
Overall, the US Geological Survey says there are 31 and 20 per cent probabilities of an earthquake measuring magnitude 7.5, nearly Big One status, occurring in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, respectively.
The last Big One occurred in 1906, a 7.9 quake that moved 300 miles of fault, razed large parts of San Francisco, and killed more than 3,000 people in the deadliest earthquake in US history.
When the Big One hits, it will be 44 times stronger than the Northridge earthquake of 1994, which killed 72 people, injured 9,000, and caused $200 billion in damage.
Predicting when earthquakes are going to happen remains difficult, San Jose State University geologist Kimberly Blisniuk told the Los Angeles Times in March.
“The San Andreas fault is one of the best studied faults in the world, and there’s still so much we can do,” she said.
Researchers concluded that a pair of major southern California quakes in 2019, registering 6.4 and 7.1 magnitudes, slightly raised the chances the Big One could strike, though the probability remains low, with about a 1 per cent chance of a major quake along the San Andreas over the next year.
There’s just not great way to know when exactly The Big One may come, according to seismologist Dr Lucy Jones.
“I’m surprise we haven’t had it yet — we average 150 years between San Andreas events and it’s been 350 on the southernmost part,” she wrote on Twitter in May. “But we could easily go another 50 — or more. The time between big quakes seems to be Poissonian – that means the time since the last quake doesn’t matter.”