Light earthquake rattles greater Los Angeles area; no injuries
LOS ANGELES (AP) – An earthquake shook the greater Los Angeles area Sunday afternoon, but there were no reports of serious damage or injury.
The quake had a magnitude of 4.2 and was centered about one mile south-southeast of West Hollywood, said Lucy Jones, scientist in charge of the U.S. Geological Survey office in Pasadena. It was a new quake, unrelated to any previous event.
The quake was felt in downtown Los Angeles where it rolled for about four seconds and shook in the suburban areas of Van Nuys, Whittier and Glendale. The quake was felt as far away as Lancaster, which is about 70 miles north of downtown Los Angeles.
An estimated 10 million people likely felt the quake, Jones said.
The quake struck at 4:59 p.m. and was followed by three aftershocks, Jones said. A magnitude 2.8 aftershock struck at 5:01 p.m. in the Beverly Hills area and the two other aftershocks had magnitudes of 2.0 and 1.8.
Seismologist and fire department officials said the quake was not strong enough to cause major structural damage.
”It is the type that would rattle dishes, knock dishes out of shells and things of this nature. But as far as damage to buildings, I don’t think we’ll have significant damage to any buildings or ruptured pipes or anything like this as a result of this particular earthquake,” said city fire department spokesman Jim Wells.
An apartment complex in the Westwood area did sustain moderate damage when a third-story, glass corner window collapsed outward, Wells said. Residents were evacuated and inspectors were called in to determine the building’s structural integrity.
The 1994 Northridge earthquake was the last major temblor to strike in the Los Angeles area. The 6.7 magnitude quake killed 72 people and caused $25 billion in damage.
The temblor that struck Sunday had a depth of 2.3 miles and was the first 4.0-plus quake in the Los Angeles basin since the last aftershock associated with the 1994 Northridge quake, Jones said. That aftershock occurred in 1997.
A slight chance exists that the quake is a precursor to a larger temblor.
”About five percent of all earthquakes in California are followed by something larger in three days,” Jones said. She added, however, that the likelihood of a larger quake tails off with each hour following the temblor.
The quake occurred on a strike-slip fault south of the Santa Monica-Hollywood fault and was centered about one mile northwest of the La Brea tar pits.
The area is difficult to map geologically, Jones said.
”When you get to this size earthquake, you can not definitively assign it to a particular fault,” she said, describing the web of faults that crisscross the area.
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