A pre-dawn earthquake rolled across the Los Angeles basin on 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.
Encino resident Joann Smith described the initial jolt as “a big crash” that shook her house. “My dog got out of bed and she came looking for me,” Smith said. “She was shivering terribly.” 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 and caused $25 billion in damage two decades ago, Lucy Jones, a USGS seismologist, 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. “I was in bed and I heard the rumbling. The bed was moving,” said Rania Jurdi, a school therapist who lives in Glendale.
“I jumped out of bed and ran to the kids’ room. Everybody was asleep.” Jurdi said that’s only proof that her two teenagers can sleep through anything. Broadcasters live on the air immediately announced that an earthquake was occurring. Anchors at KTLA-TV took cover underneath their desk before quickly resuming the broadcast by seeking USGS information. 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 press conference.
The quake was, however, “par for the course in Southern California” and would likely only be studied briefly to understand how it fits in with previous activity, Hauksson said.
Southern California has been in a seismic lull since significant quakes of the 1980s and 1990s. Whether Monday’s quake signaled an end to that “earthquake drought” won’t be known for many months because it takes a long period to show whether the rate of activity has changed, he said. ___ Associated Press Videographer Raquel Maria Dillon in Los Angeles and Radio Correspondent Matt Small in Washington contributed to this report.
Earthquake epicenter: Los Angeles – USA
Date 17/03/2014 UTC 13:25:36
Latitude 34.14° N Longitude 118.49° W
Magnitude 4.4 Depth 9.9 Km
The following analysis shows the macroseismical effects based on a model hereby displayed. The reported macroseismic effects may vary (one or two levels, up or down) depending on the characteristics of local geology or buildings. If not expressly indicated, earthquake perception is intended during the day. Peak ground acceleration is expressed in cm/s².
Values and terms do not coincide with other seismic scales.
Nearby cities 5 Km far from the epicenter:
West Los Angeles, Encino, Sherman Oaks
8- Notable earthquake 40 < PGA < 80 ( V MCS )
Inside the houses almost everyone feels the earthquake, and sometimes even the preceeding roar; outside many perceive a vibration. Seismic shake is intense and wakes up several people. Objects vibrate, some of them fall. Chandeliers oscillate widely. Doors and windows open and close. People are scared and run out of buildings. Old houses and monuments are lightly damaged. Several reports arrive from the affected area.
Nearby cities from 5 Km to 15 Km far from the epicenter:
Central Los Angeles, Westwood, Beverly Hills, Universal City California, Santa Monica, Van Nuys, Hollywood
7- Moderate earthquake 20< PGA < 40 ( IV MCS )
Inside the houses, many people feel the earthquake. Seismic vibration is very intense and wakes up who’s sleeping. Chandeliers oscillate widely. Windows and objects shake;People are scared; many of them get out of buildings. Outside many people clearly feel the earthquake and hear the preceeding roar. Buildings are not externally damaged. Many reports arrive from the affected area.
Nearby cities from 15 Km to 28 Km far from the epicenter:
South Los Angeles, Glendale, Inglewood, Chatsworth, Burbank, Pacoima, Granada Hills, Edendale, Simi Valley
6- Mild earthquake 10 < PGA < 20 ( III – IV MCS )
Lots of people inside buildings feel a strong seismic vibration. Chandeliers oscillate noticeably; crakles and tinkles can be heard. Someone of those who sleep, wakes up. Several people prefer to go outside, as a safety measure. Outside several people feel the vibration, they clearly hear that particular sound preceeding the earthquake. Many reports arrive through the internet.
Nearby cities from 28 Km to 48 Km far from the epicenter:
East Los Angeles, Pasadena, Whittier, Downey, Compton, El Monte, Alhambra, Santa Clarita, Thousand Oaks
5- Light earthquake 5 < PGA < 10 ( III MCS )
Inside buildings, some people feel a vibration. Chandeliers oscillate; A tinkle of glasses shattered can be heard. Someone decides to go outside, as a safety measure. Outside only a few people feel the earthquake; before the event, a few people hear a noise, like a far away thunder. From the affected area many reports arrive.
Nearby cities from 48 Km to 81 Km far from the epicenter:
Long Beach, Camarillo, Santa Paula, Ventura, Oxnard, Santa Ana, Huntington B, Pomona, Orange, Lancaster
4- Weak earthquake 2.5 < PGA < 5.0 ( II – III MCS )
A relevant number of people, inside buildings in in quietness, feels a moderate vibration. Chandeliers oscillate; a tinkle of glasses shattering can be heard. People who perceive these effects feel apprehension. Outside, only a few people feel the earthquake; someone hears a low frequency noise. A few reports arrive through the internet.
Nearby cities from 81 Km to 134 Km far from the epicenter:
San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Hesperia, Victorville, Riverside, Mission Viejo, Corona, Irvine, Rosamond
3- Tenuous earthquake 1.2 < PGA < 2.5 ( II MCS )
In the higest and middle floors, a few people perceive a light vibration. Chandeliers oscillate. People feel apprehension. Outside, almost nobody feels the earthquake.From the affected area, only a few reports arrive; sometimes a light sound is heard.
Nearby cities from 134 Km to 221 Km far from the epicenter:
San Diego, Bakersfield, Barstow, Hemet, Santa Maria, Lompoc, Indio, Palm Springs, Vista, Escondido
2- Insignificant earthquake 0.6 < PGA < 1.2 ( I – II MCS )
In the highest floors and in quietness, a few people feel a very light vibration, but there isn’t any concern. Outside nobody feels anything. No sound of the earthquake can be heard. Only a few reports arrive through the internet.
Nearby cities from 221 Km to 365 Km far from the epicenter:
Las Vegas, Tijuana, Mexicali, Fresno, Ensenada, Nipton, Visalia, Hanford, El Centro, Clovis, Madera
1- Unperceivable earthquake 0.3 < PGA < 0.6 ( I MCS )
The intensity is irrelevant; the earthquake is recorded by seismic stations in the region. Even in the best-case scenario, almost nobody feels the shaking, not even in the highest floors. No reports come from the area.
Cities beyond 365 Km from the epicenter.
0- Instrumental earthquake PGA < 0.3 ( I MCS )
Earthquake is unsubstantial; it is recorded by seismic stations with advanced instruments. Even in the best-case scenario, people don’t feel the earthquake.