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​5.1 quake hits California, 20 miles southeast of Los Angeles

Published time: March 29, 2014 08:04
Edited time: March 29, 2014 18:40
City workers shut down a water main after a break that occurred during a magnitude 5.1 earthquake in Fullerton, California March 28, 2014. (Reuters / Gene Blevins)

City workers shut down a water main after a break that occurred during a magnitude 5.1 earthquake in Fullerton, California March 28, 2014. (Reuters / Gene Blevins)

A 5.1-magnitude quake struck near the city of La Habra, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) southeast of downtown Los Angeles. The tremor was felt across California on Friday, along with at least 100 aftershocks.

The earthquake took place at 9:09 PM (04:09 GMT am on Saturday) nearly 1,6 km of the city of La Habra, or 6,4 km north of the city of Fullerton, Orange county, said the United States Geological Survey (USGS). According to the local media, the shakes lasted from 10 to 15 seconds.

The tremor was felt across at least five counties of California, such as Orange, Los Angeles, Ventura, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties.

Residents in cities like Encinitas, Del Mar, Oceanside, San Diego and San Marcos reported feeling the shakes, San Diego news reported.

There have been at least 100 aftershocks following the major quake, said USGS. At least five aftershocks have been recorded ranging from magnitudes 2.7 to 3.6. The strongest one happened at 9:33 p.m. on Friday (04:33 GMT am on Saturday) also in La Habra.

USGS also added that the strikes may also continue for several days to weeks, but will “decay in frequency and magnitude,” the USGS warned.

No injuries were reported, however the tremor displaced at least 50 residents in Fullerton, about 5 miles (8 km) from the epicenter, because of minor damage, Fullerton Police Lieutenant Mike Chlebowski said.

"Five houses and 20 apartments were damaged by the earthquake, but the fire department is in the process of determining the extent," he said, adding that a water main break in the city forced the closure of surrounding streets due to flooding.

Brea police reported of water main and gas main leaks and a rockslide caused by the quake, in La Habra, Fullerton and La Mirada, said LA Times. Fullerton police closed the area in the corner of Rosecrans and Gilbert avenues.

"Tonight's earthquake is the second in two weeks, and reminds us to be prepared," L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said in an official statement.

Garcetti added that the LA police and Fire Departments had found no damage within the city limits.

The LA Fire Department said on Saturday it had called off its "earthquake mode."

"Fortunately no significant damage occurred in the 470 square mile (756 square km) jurisdiction," the department said.

About 3,000 customers of the Southern California Edison Company have also been left without power.

Disneyland in Orange County temporarily halted rides in response to the quake and asked visitors to remain seated.

Image from maps.google.com

A brick wall collapse, water sloshing around a swimming pool and wires and trees swaying back and forth have been reported by LA-based KNX-AM news.

"A lot of the glass in the place shook like crazy," a witness told KNX-AM news. "It started like a roll and then it started shaking like crazy. Everybody ran outside, hugging each other in the streets."

The quake raised concerns among some seismologists.

“It isn't big, but it is significant. There is a five percent chance that it will be followed by something larger in the next 24-48 hours,” Tom Rockwell, a seismologist San Diego State University, told San Diego news.

Geologists at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena said the temblor was shallow, at a depth of 1.6 km. According to Robert Graves of CalTech, "earthquakes in California tend to be deeper than that so it's a little bit anomalous."

Meanwhile, preliminary data suggest that the recent strike might have been caused by the earthquake that shook Californian coast decades ago.

“It’s related to the Puente Hills thrust fault, which caused the Whittier Narrows earthquake back in 1987,” said Caltech seismologist Egill Hauksson.

On March, 10, California was struck by a magnitude 6.9 earthquake which affected its northern part. With an epicenter 50 miles west of the city of Eureka, it was widely felt across the region by thousands of people, and followed by more than a half-dozen aftershocks.

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