4.7 quake near LAX is felt across wide area
A 5.0 earthquake struck southeast of Los Angeles International Airport this evening, causing significant shaking across Southern California. [Update: Quake was downgraded to 4.7.]
Updated at 9:50 p.m.: 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. “Luckily, nothing major so far,” said Hawthorne Police Lt. Michael Ishii.
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 largely as a rolling motion, though some closer to the center felt more of 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 major quake like the San Andreas fault. But it was responsible for the 1933 Long Beach earthquake, which measured about 6.3 in magnitude. The Long Beach quake was 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 3.1 about six minutes later. So far, Jones said, 12,000 people have reported feeling the shaking, including some people in San Diego. She was not surprised at the number of people reporting because the quake shook a pretty densely populated 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, and that one was classified as a "minor damaging shock."
Photo: Employees of a Starbucks at Hawthorne and Artesia Boulevards clean up broken glass that shattered on the floor and reportedly injured one person who was taken to a nearby hospital. (Jay Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)