4.7 quake shakes Southern California, rattling nerves [Updated]
A 4.7 earthquake struck southeast of Los Angeles International Airport this evening, causing significant shaking across Southern California.
In Hawthorne, firefighters were called to Chadron Avenue, near Crenshaw Boulevard, where a light pole was damaged during the earthquake. One man also suffered a heart attack, but it was unclear whether that was connected to the quake. “Luckily, nothing major so far,” said Hawthorne Police Lt. Michael Ishii.
Some residents said they were having trouble with cellphone service, but it's unclear how widespread the problems are.
The earthquake was “a bit deep,” said U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Susan Hough – originating 8.4 miles below the surface. “That tends to make it less sharp – less of a jerky, abrupt motion,” Hough said. As a result, most of the region felt the quake as a rolling motion, though some closer to the center may have felt a jolt.
Lucy Jones, seismologist at the U.S. Geological Survey, said the earthquake appears to be consistent with a rupture on the Newport-Inglewood fault. She said the quake was too small to break the surface, so they can't definitively identify faults. Jones said this fault isn't typically thought to be capable of producing a large quake, like the San Andreas fault is known to do. But it was responsible for the 1933 Long Beach earthquake, which measured about 6.3 in magnitude. The Long Beach quake is about as big as seismologists expect from this fault, she said.
"There have been numerous magnitude 3s on it over the years, a cluster of them in the 1980s," she said. "In general, it's an active area."
The quake was initially logged as a magnitude 5 by automatic sensors, but as more data came in, seismologists downgraded it to a magnitude 4.7. It also had an aftershock with a magnitude of 3.1 about six minutes later. So far, Jones said, 12,000 people have reported feeling the shaking, including some in San Diego. She was not surprised at the number of people reporting, as the quake shook a densely inhabited area.
Nothing about the quake or its aftershocks looked unusual, she said. "It’s a real garden-variety California earthquake so far."
What’s notable about it is location with respect to people.
She said the most similar earthquake to this one was a temblor that shook the Inglewood area in 1920. That was classified as a "minor damaging shock."
Updated at 10:30 p.m.: "County fire dispatchers reported no damage at area refineries although units had responded to numerous alarms triggered by the quake," said Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Frank Garrado. "We have had some alarm activations but the [fire units] have reported false alarms [there]."
Disneyland temporarily closed rides when the quake occurred, but no problems were reported.
Updated at 11:05 p.m.: Plate-glass windows shattered at two businesses on South Street in Long Beach. The Daily Breeze posted photos showing bottles of wine and other grocery items scattered on the floor of an Albertson's store in Redondo Beach.
Updated at 11:35 p.m.: According to City News Service, the Chevron refinery in El Segundo had a "burnoff,'' in which excess refinery gases were burned. Police said burnoffs are standard procedure after an earthquake.
-- Shelby Grad, Scott Gold, Andrew Blankstein, Jean Merl and Rong-Gong Lin II
Photos: Employees of a Starbucks at Hawthorne and Artesia Boulevards in Torrance clean up glass that fell from a window above, reportedly injuring one person who was taken to a nearby hospital. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times