Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Quake, aftershocks rattle Calif. residents

Quake, aftershocks rattle Calif. residents
Tremor reminds some to update emergency plans
By Gillian Flaccus
Associated Press / May 19, 2009

LONG BEACH, Calif. - Glass shattered and ceiling tiles fell as a moderate tremor shook laid-back Southern California, rattling residents' nerves and reminding them they need to update earthquake emergency plans.

No significant damage or major injuries were reported but the Greater Los Angeles region vibrated for about 10 to 15 seconds Sunday night and the tremor was felt as far south as San Diego, said Susan Hough, a seismologist at the US Geological Survey.

"This was a serious jolt," Hough said.

The magnitude-4.7 earthquake was centered about 10 miles southwest of downtown Los Angeles and 3 miles east of Los Angeles International Airport, according to the US Geological Survey.

"First thing I thought was 'Is this the big one?' It was pretty powerful," said Long Beach resident Tom Oswalt, 46. "My first thought was to get out of the building, get my dog and get out of the building."

At least 10 aftershocks had followed by yesterday, with the largest registering magnitude-3.1.
Sunday's shock was one of the most powerful earthquakes Carel McEachern had felt during her four decades in Long Beach.

"It didn't get me out of the house, but after it was over, we all wandered out in the street and asked around and we all agreed it was the strongest one in a long time," said McEachern, 58.
Charlene Ebright said she hadn't updated her earthquake emergency supplies in eight years but now she plans to do so.

"I've cut out a million articles about what to do and what you need but I've never gotten around to it," Ebright said. "It just reminds you, you've got to be ready."

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.

The shaking was most intense in the coastal communities south of the airport, including Long Beach.

Carolyn Gray was reading a book at her Long Beach home when her dog, Rocket, jumped into her lap. It was the 2 1/2-year-old pet's first earthquake.

"It was a good jolt. It wasn't really a roll," she said.

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

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

The quake originated 8.4 miles below the surface and appeared consistent with movement on the Newport-Inglewood fault, said Ken Hudnut, a geophysicist with the US Geological Survey.
That fault was responsible for the magnitude-6.4 Long Beach earthquake in 1933 that killed 120 and caused more than $50 million in damage.

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

Since Northridge, the region has been in a relative seismic lull, although activity has picked up in the past year.

Last summer, a 5.4-magnitude earthquake was centered in Chino Hills, east of Los Angeles, but did not cause major damage. This year, an earthquake swarm shook the desert near the southern end of the San Andreas Fault.

© Copyright 2009 Globe Newspaper Company.

1 comment:

  1. My fellow Californians we are long over due for another major one. Sad to say and I hope not but, we've been fairly free from any descent earthquakes for several years now. Here is a site that has resources for what we might need to prepare for.