“It just would not stop, it was like an eternity.” –Resident of La Habra, California
“There could be even a larger earthquake in the next few hours or the next few days.” –Lucy Jones, U.S. Geological Survey seismologist
A magnitude 5.1 earthquake struck suburban Los Angeles on Friday evening, rattling a wide swath of Southern California, breaking water mains in a nearby community and prompting Disneyland to shut down rides.
There were no reports of injury or substantial structural damage from the quake, which was centered outside the city of La Habra, about 20 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, and hit at 9:09 p.m. on Friday (12:09 a.m. EDT on Saturday), according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
“Tonight’s earthquake is the second in two weeks, and reminds us to be prepared,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a written statement released about an hour after the shaking stopped.
Garcetti said the city’s police and Fire Departments had conducted an immediate assessment and found no damage within the city limits.
A Los Angeles police spokeswoman said the department had not received any reports of damage or injury.
The quake was felt as far away as Palm Springs in the east and Ventura County to the north.
In Anaheim, Disneyland shut down park rides as a precaution and asked guests to remain seated. In Fullerton several water mains ruptured, spilling water into the streets and forcing police to divert traffic.
Geologists at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena said the temblor was shallow, at a depth of only 1.2 miles.
“We have to analyze that to make sure of the exact depth but it is relatively shallow,” said Robert Graves of CalTech. “Earthquakes in California tend to be deeper than that so it’s a little bit anomalous.”
Graves said that there was a five percent chance that the temblor was a precursor to a stronger quake.
According to the USGS the earthquake was preceded by a smaller 3.6 magnitude temblor at 9:03 p.m. and followed by a series of some 20 aftershocks within an hour.
Earlier this month a 4.4 magnitude quake centered north of Los Angeles shook much of the region but caused no damage.
(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Additional reporting by Ronald Grover; Editing by Sandra Maler)
SOURCE: DAN WHITCOMB
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A series of earthquakes peaking with a magnitude 5.1 shaker struck the Southland on Friday evening, causing a rock slide, water main breaks and shattered glass throughout northwestern Orange County, but there were no immediate reports of injuries.
The first of a swarm of earthquakes hit the border of La Habra and Brea shortly after 8 p.m. with a 3.6 temblor. About an hour later, at 9:09 p.m., a 5.1 shock hit, followed by at least two more aftershocks in the 3-point range in the next half-hour. At least 20 aftershocks had been recorded by late Friday.
U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Lucy Jones said the 5.1 quake has a 5% chance of being a foreshock of a larger temblor.
“There could be even a larger earthquake in the next few hours or the next few days,” Jones said during a media briefing at Caltech.
Residents across Orange and Los Angeles counties and the Inland Empire reported swinging chandeliers, fireplaces dislodging from walls and lots of rattled nerves, but damage appeared to be relatively minor. The shake caused a rock slide in Carbon Canyon, causing a car to overturn, according to the Brea Police Department. Fullerton police received reports of water main breaks and windows shattering, but primarily had residents calling about burglar alarms being set off by the quake.
Third-grade teacher Barbara Castillo and her 7-year-old son had just calmed their nerves after the first temblor and sat down in their La Habra home when their dogs started barking and the second, larger quake struck, causing cabinet doors to swing open, objects to fall off shelves and lights to flicker.
“It just would not stop, it was like an eternity,” said Castillo, an 18-year La Habra resident.
At Disneyland in Anaheim, all rides were halted as a precaution but no damage or injuries were reported — other than ceiling tiles falling in the police station, Sgt. Daron Wyatt said.
Experts said that based on preliminary data, the series of earthquakes appeared to have occurred on the Puente Hills thrust fault, which stretches from the San Gabriel Valley to downtown Los Angeles. It also caused the 1987 Whittier Narrows earthquake.
SOURCE: Victoria Kim and Rong-Gong Lin II
The Los Angeles Times