Magnitude-4.7 Quake Rattles Nerves Near L.A. - JEMS.com


 
 

Christopher Weber | | Monday, May 18, 2009


LOS ANGELES -- A moderate earthquake that jolted Southern California was felt by millions and sent at least one person to a hospital, but the region avoided significant damage and major injuries.

The magnitude-4.7 quake hit at 8:39 p.m. Sunday night, centered about 10 miles southwest of downtown Los Angeles and three miles east of Los Angeles International Airport, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. At least 10 aftershocks had followed by early Monday, with the largest registering magnitude-3.1.

The quake rattled the greater Los Angeles region for about 10 to 15 seconds and was felt as far south as San Diego, said USGS seismologist Susan Hough.

"This was a serious jolt. It was probably felt within 100 miles," Hough said.

The shaking was most intense in the coastal communities south of the airport. Some residents said books and other objects were knocked off shelves, but no damage was reported at the airport.

Mariella Freyre, 30, a waitress at Kafe Neo, a Greek restaurant in Long Beach, said she was surprised by the strength of the quake, which she felt as she talked to customers.

"There were tremors and glasses started shaking," she said at the restaurant Monday. "I felt the movement on the floor. I've been in many tremors but I've never felt the floor move like that."

The Los Angeles Fire Department received numerous calls about the quake, said spokesman Brian Humphrey.

Glass broke at a Starbucks in Torrance, and one person there was taken to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries, Torrance Fire Department dispatchers said.

Television images showed a storefront window knocked out of a Long Beach drapery business, and tiles that fell during a screening at a Redondo Beach movie theater, but no injuries were reported in either incident.

The quake, which hit 8.4 miles below the surface, appears consistent with movement on the Newport-Inglewood fault, said USGS geophysicist Ken Hudnut.

The Newport-Inglewood fault was responsible for the magnitude-6.4 Long Beach earthquake in 1933 that caused 120 deaths and more than $50 million in property damage.

The last damaging earthquake in Southern California was the 1994 magnitude-6.7 Northridge quake that toppled bridges and buildings.




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