Earthquake makes for shaky St. Patrick’s Day in SoCal

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – St. Patrick's Day got off to a shaky start Monday
when a magnitude-4.4 earthquake centered southeast of Encino in the Santa
Monica Mountains gave residents a jolt and several seconds of shaking, but
there were no reports of any damage or injuries.

The quake, which was originally estimated by the U.S. Geological Survey
at magnitude-4.7 but was later downgraded, was centered about six miles north-
northwest of Westwood and about five miles underground. The jolt was felt as
far away as Santa Barbara and into Orange County.

“We've had a couple of aftershocks greater than magnitude 1.5,” USGS
seismologist Robert Graves said about an hour after the quake was reported.
“The most recent was at 7:23 (a.m.). We had a magnitude 2.7, which would cause
very minor shaking, probably felt in the epicentral region.

“We're continuing to analyze the data, but at this point, this seems to
be what I would call a rather typical earthquake of moderate magnitude,”
Graves said. “We don't expect there will be much damage.”

Graves said the quake was a “reminder that we live in earthquake
country” and emphasized the importance of residents devising an earthquake
plan that includes emergency sources of food and water.

Mayor Eric Garcetti echoed that sentiment, calling the “Shamrock
Shake” temblor a reminder “that every L.A. family must be prepared with food,
water and other essentials, as well as a plan.”

Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavksy said he was working on his
computer in his home, which is only seven or eight miles from the epicenter —
the closest he said he has ever been to one in his lifetime.

“It was a pretty good jolt. It hit pretty hard, but it was brief,”
Yaroslavsky told Video News West. “Fortunately, I think the brevity of the
quake saved a lot of problems for a lot of people.”

The Los Angeles police and fire departments went into their standard
earthquake mode after the shaker to survey neighborhoods and critical
infrastructure in search of any potential damage, but none was found.

Metro rail lines were delayed briefly as crews inspected tracks for
possible damage from the earthquake. Service returned to normal a short time
later when no damage was detected.

Los Angeles International Airport operations were not affected by the
quake, according to airport police. Los Angeles Unified School District schools
were also unaffected.

The California Highway Patrol reported no damage to Los Angeles-area
roadways from the earthquake.

Officials at UCLA said the campus in Westwood, despite its proximity to
the epicenter, did not suffer any damage.

Officials with Southern California Gas Co. conducted a safety evaluation
of its system, but had not found any evidence of damage to gas lines or
disruptions to service. Gas Co. officials reminded customers to report any
signs of a gas leak by calling the utility at (800) 427-2200. Customers also
should not turn off gas meters after an earthquake unless there is evidence of
a leak, and only if it is safe to do so.

According to Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Steve Concialdi, the
quake was felt in parts of Orange County, but he said there have been no
reports of damage or injuries.

Egill Hauksson, a USGS seismologist at Caltech, said the quake was rare
in that is was centered in the midst of the Santa Monica Mountains, which are
essentially solid rock. He said quakes are generally centered either north or
south of the range, but not within the range.

Caltech officials also noted that the experimental early warning system
for quakes worked, giving seismologists about a two-second warning before the
shaking began.

Categories: KUSI