Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

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.]

The temblor hit about 8:30 p.m. a mile from the South Bay community of Lennox. 

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries, but authorities said they were receiving numerous calls about the temblor.

A 3.0 aftershock occurred a few minutes later near Lennox.

Check out the USGS quake map.

Update at 8:58 p.m.: The temblor started about 8.4 miles below the surface, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Residents in the Lennox area said china fell off shelves, but there were no reports of more serious damage. The Los Angeles Fire Department is on "emergency quake mode" as a precaution.

It's unclear what fault the quake struck on. The Newport-Inglewood fault, which has produced several powerful temblors, runs through that general area.

Updated at 9:10 p.m.: An initial assessment by the Los Angeles Fire Department found "no major structural damage, no serious injuries," according to spokesman Brian Humphrey's Twitter feed. 

Updated at 9:20 p.m.: At the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Lennox station, deputies said the shaking was brief but intense. "It was pretty strong but over in about 10 seconds," said Lt. Kent Wegener. "There are no [immediate] reports of damage. At this point, we are checking all the critical facilities and getting our ducks in a row." 

Los Angeles County Fire officials also said they had not received damage reports in residential or industrial areas, including the coastal refineries.

Update at 9:35 p.m.:KCAL interviewed moviegoers at a shopping mall in Redondo Beach who said the quake shook the screen and caused some ceiling tiles to fall. But firefighters said there was no serious damage or injuries. KCAL also reported numerous burglar alarms going off and some people cutting themselves on glass.

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."

--Shelby Grad, Scott Gold, Jia-Rui Chong and Andrew Blankstein

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)
Comments () | Archives (412)

Gardena here. I heard it before it hit. Thought it was a sonic book. Then the house started to shake, followed by a hard jolt. Felt like a semi-truck had slammed into the house. A few items fell from the shelves. Nothing serious.

Here at UC Irvine. Living room windows started to rattle. Stayed calm for my kids, otherwise, I was scared, worried it was going to get worse. The kids had many questions afterward. Kids in bed sleeping; I'm still scared. Native Californian and lived through too many of them.

terminal 2 in LAX. the building was shaking and dusts on the ceiling fell down for about 10 sec. everyone looked each other, wondering what it was. a few minutes later, the 2nd one came but was minor. there was no announcement in the airport though.

That was a 2-3 second jolt in West Hills. No damage to house. Some damage to psyche.

We were approaching warp speed watching Star Trek in Burbank, thought it was someone kicking the seat!

Very violent in Redondo Beach items fell off shelfs car alarms. Pets went crazy barking running around tried to hold them and sooth them, did not like it

Historic South Central: yeah we felt it here. It was a rumble, like if a truck passed by, but then it got louder. Then things started to sway. It lasted about 20 seconds, but it was frightening.

Miracle Mile - felt a quick jolt - annoyed 'cause it was during the middle of "The Tudors". Did a quick run around but no damage...

I felt a moderate, deep rumbling in the pit of my stomach. The refrigerator was shaking, and moving.

It could have been my gas though...

We felt it in Hollywood. The whole house shook for about ten seconds. No damage.

felt it pretty well here in Oceanside

Also felt it in Oceanside - pretty strong to me but no one else in the house felt it...felt like bigger than a based on about 10 So Cal quakes I've been through - including Simi Valley

Heard a noise that sounds like animals were scratching within the walls of apt. building on 2nd floor. Never heard this strange sound b4. In Ocean Beach.

Hurray! Now I've been in an earthquake and several hurricanes. Now I just need a volcano, a wildfire, and a tsunami.

Lots of shake at the Hummus House Restaurant in Hawthorne. Strong Building. No broken china. Just little bit scary. Customers calmed down and continued meals. The phone stopped working for 10 minutes and then came back on line.

We heard our dog bark, then we heard a lot of rumbling here in Westchester. Thought it was the start of the "big one" but,
only had minor swaying. No jolts.

Sitting and watching TV when we (me,Kiko & Ate) felt the earthquake around 8:30pm 5/17/09. More like a vertical vibration and a few light sways..thought it was like 3.0. This lasted around 15 sec. Thank God no injuries, no thing fell in the house. Location Monterey Hills/Highland park in Northeast LA. ***AAMMOO***

Reaction from 39th and Denker in Exposition Park:

The strongest quake I've felt since the big one in the 90s. Glass figures fell off shelves and shattered. I felt and heard rumbles for at least 30 seconds. This one produced some adrenalin. There have been a couple of aftershocks, but quiet now for a good 30 minutes.

was in burbank in an elevator in a parking garage - very scary . started while inside and was over by the time it hit my floor - yikes .. very scary!

Oh yeah...felt it big time here in Dana Point! Me & fellow neighbors ran out of our houses onto the sidewalk in front of or houses. Didn't feel the aftershock, though.

In Hollywood Hollywood, I felt it. My cat felt it. No big deal. I got a bigger deal watching my cat... she thought someone was about to come in the front door.

But I disagree that it was a sharp jolt... more like a constant wobbly vibration... like the ones from drinking too much coffee.

I can now say that I've experienced an earthquake while at Disneyland. It started kind of weak and then became stronger. I certainly shook things up.

Twitter is great during an earthquake: http://ping.fm/eIwJk/?=gigwriter

Felt it in San Diego - I'm visiting from Minnesota, so this was a rare 'treat'

Rolled through Monterey Park around 8:40PM--felt pretty powerful, but nothing moved, dogs didn't get excited, babies didn't even notice, no car alarms.

Regarding "Basic rules" from Sandy at 9:17PM: "Get to doorway" is based on an old Red Cross account of a wooden doorway left standing in the ruins of an adobe home. Outside unreinforced adobe, doorways don't provide much cover, doors themselves can be dangerous, and there's not much to hold on to there.

If it's worth getting up for, the best thing is to get under a sturdy table, away from a window, and hold on to one of the legs in case it's *really* big.

Once the shaking stops, evacuate the building, while watching for stuff like loose bricks and roof tiles, tree limbs, overhead lines, etc.

Of course, more Angelenos probably ought to be better prepared for the Big One (than I am) with furniture tie-downs, cupboard latches, and a *fresh* three-day supply of food and water (minimum). (Oh, yeah, know how to turn off your gas, too.) (Did I forget anything?)

« | 1 2 ... 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 | »


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
Have a story tip for L.A. Now?
Please send to newstips@latimes.com
Can I call someone with news?
Yes. The city desk number is (213) 237-7847.


Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: