Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Magnitude-4.4 Earthquake Shakes Southern Calif.

An earthquake east of downtown Los Angeles rippled across Southern California before dawn Tuesday, jolting millions of people awake and putting first-responders on alert but causing no damage, injuries or power outages.

The magnitude-4.4 quake, centered about 10 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, struck shortly after 4 a.m., according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

"It was a shake, but not bad. Our inmates slept through it and we had a few calls, but not as many as you would think," Pico Rivera sheriff's station Sgt. Jacqueline Sanchez said. Deputies were immediately dispatched to check on bridges and dams, he said.

Los Angeles County Fire Department supervising dispatcher Andre Gougis said there were no reports of damage or injury and the department was at normal operations.

Gougis said the quake was felt as his east Los Angeles headquarters.

"There was an initial jolt, then mild shaking after that," he said.

Though the quake was considered small in size, it was felt over a large swath of Southern California. People from San Bernardino County to the east and Santa Monica, about 25 miles to the west, reported feeling it.

"The building started shaking. That's it. I'm used to it," said Ruben Solis, a 25-year-old security guard who works downtown. Solis said he checked his monitors and no alarms were triggered. "I got up and went on patrol," he said.

The quake hit not far from the 1987 Whittier Narrows earthquake, a magnitude 5.9 quake that killed eight people and caused more than $350 million in damage.

The latest jolt was not likely to inflict the same damage.

"I'm sure people would have felt it, but this is not an earthquake that will be damaging," said USGS geophysicist Amy Vaughan.

Scientists have not yet determined which fault was responsible for the latest quake, said California Institute of Technology seismologist Kate Hutton.


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