March 18, 2014 in Nation/World

Mild temblor felt across Los Angeles

Quake centered in Santa Monica Mountains
Christopher Weber Associated Press
 

LOS ANGELES – A predawn earthquake rolled across the Los Angeles basin Monday, rattling nerves and shaking buildings along a 150-mile swath of Southern California but causing no major damage.

The 4.4-magnitude quake was centered 2 miles from Encino and 15 miles west-northwest of the downtown civic center, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

USGS seismologist Robert Graves called it a “typical” Southern California quake and said expectations were that damage would be slight, if it occurred at all.

Los Angeles police and fire officials said there were no immediate reports of damage.

The 6:25 a.m. quake occurred at a depth of about 5 miles. There were several aftershocks, including one of 2.7 magnitude that caused very minor shaking, Graves said.

Marita Ipaktchia was in the kitchen at her Encino home when the quake hit, sending salt and pepper shakers and collectible glass figurines on her shelves crashing to the ground.

“The whole kitchen was shaking,” she said “Everything broke. Everything came down.”

The quake was felt as far away as Orange County to the south and Santa Barbara to the north.

It was one of the largest to hit Los Angeles since the 6.7-magnitude Northridge quake killed several dozen people and caused $25 billion in damage two decades ago, USGS seismologist Lucy Jones told KABC-TV.

“It’s not that large by California terms. It’s the size of earthquake we have across the state once every couple of months,” Jones said. “But we haven’t had one like this in LA for quite a while.”

A magnitude-4.7 quake struck near Inglewood in 2009, she said.

The quake was somewhat unusual because of its location within the Santa Monica Mountains, a 40-mile-long range that crosses Los Angeles and stretches west through Malibu to Ventura County.

Seismologist Egill Hauksson, a veteran researcher at Caltech, said it was the only magnitude-4.4 temblor within the range since recording of earthquakes began.

“The Santa Monica Mountains are a very old rock formation, hundreds of millions of years old, and we sort of think of it as being a very rigid block. And the earthquakes tend to cluster either north of them or south of them but don’t seem to be occurring within the mountains,” he told a Caltech news conference.

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