Magnitude 5.3 Earthquake Hit Los Angeles, Southern California


  • A magnitude-5.3 earthquake struck southern California on Thursday, around 12:30 p.m, shaking establishments in the Los Angeles area.
  • The quake, which lasted about 10 seconds, was centered in the Pacific Ocean, some 35 miles southeast of Channel Islands Beach, according to the S. Geological Survey.
  • There was no significant damage on the mainland but it has caused some earth movement on Santa Cruz Island.

An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.3, reported being the strongest to hit the area in several years, lasted roughly 10 seconds. According to witnesses and the U.S. Geological Survey, the shake was felt as far away as Bakersfield, Palmdale and the city of Orange.

Several photos of Santa Cruz Island, which appeared to have experienced a landslide, were posted online by The Ventura County Fire Department.

Santa Cruz is one of the channel islands off Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

There was also an uploaded video which showed the quake rattling an eagle’s nest on the island. The eagle had no choice but to fly away from its eaglets before returning to them.

“A 5.3 could be damaging if it was right under our feet. It’s right on the edge of being an earthquake that could be dangerous. It’s a reminder that we need to be ready in the future,” said John Vidale, director of the Southern California Earthquake Center at USC.

Vidale noted that the L.A. area feels an earthquake of this magnitude once every year. He added that there is a 1-in-20 chance that the latest earthquake could lead to a bigger one in the next few weeks. Unalarming, smaller aftershocks may follow, he said.

There is no tsunami alert because the quake was too small and too far away from the coast to trigger one.

“It would never make a wave that you could see,” Vidale said.

The quake activated California’s developing earthquake early-warning system. Vidale said he and colleagues at USC heard beeping 10 to 15 seconds before they felt the shaking.

“We all felt it pretty well. It was small and distinct,” he said. “We heard the warning go off and then we heard the shaking.”

The early-warning system is still under development by the USGS. It is temporarily available to a limited group of testers, but it is expected to be available for more people later this year.

Source: LA Times

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