A magnitude-5.1 earthquake centered south of Los Angeles on Friday shook residents throughout Southern California and sent bottles and cans tumbling off shelves in stores, produced a rock slide that closed a road and forced a brief shutdown of rides at Disneyland. There were no reports of major damage or injuries.
In the Orange County city of Fullerton, 20 apartment units and half a dozen homes were red-tagged for possible damage, displacing 83 people, police Lieutenant Mike Chlebowski said. Southern California Edison reported power outages to about 2,000 customers following the quake.
The tremor struck at 9.09pm and was centered near Brea in Orange County, about 20 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles, at a depth of 5 miles. It was felt as far south as San Diego and as far north as Ventura County, according to citizen responses collected online by the US Geological Survey (USGS).
More than 100 aftershocks followed, including a magnitude-3.4 shock that hit on Saturday morning. The main shock was preceded by two foreshocks registering magnitudes 3.6 and 2.1, scientists said.
Aftershocks were still being recorded by the USGS early on Saturday, nearly 12 hours after the quake struck. But the Los Angeles Fire Department said it had called off its “earthquake mode”.
“Fortunately no significant damage occurred in the 470 square mile jurisdiction,” the department said.
While not large, the event “seems unusual, of course, because a lot of people felt it,” said Doug Given, a USGS geophysicist. “These quakes occur in populated areas and people try to put two and two together and predict that something more is coming, but that’s simply not the case,” he said.
Broken glass, gas leaks, water main breaks and a rockslide were reported near the epicenter, according to Twitter updates from local authorities. Tom Connolly, a Boeing employee who lives in La Mirada, said the quake lasted about 30 seconds.
“We felt a really good jolt. It was a long rumble and it just didn’t feel like it would end,” he told the Associated Press by phone. “Right in the beginning it shook really hard, so it was a little unnerving. People got quiet and started bracing themselves by holding on to each other. It was a little scary.”
A Red Cross shelter was set up in La Habra for residents forced out of their homes or who voluntarily chose to stay there. About 38 people including several families stayed overnight, Red Cross spokeswoman Meredith Mills said.
The Hall of Fame baseball announcer Vin Scully was on the air calling Friday night’s Angels-Dodgers exhibition game in the sixth inning at Dodger Stadium.
“A little tremor here in the ballpark. I’m not sure if the folks felt it, but we certainly felt it here in press box row,” Scully said. “A tremor and only that, thank goodness.”
Public safety officials said crews were inspecting bridges, dams, rail tracks and other infrastructure systems for signs of damage. The Brea police department said the rock slide in the Carbon Canyon area caused a car to overturn, and the people inside sustained minor injuries.
Callers to KNX-AM reported seeing a brick wall collapse, water sloshing in a swimming pool and wires and trees swaying back and forth. One caller said he was in a movie theater lobby in Brea when the quake struck and said people ran outside and hugged in the street.
Rides were halted at Disneyland in Anaheim, but no damage was found and the theme park was expected to have normal operations Saturday.
The quake hit a week after a pre-dawn magnitude-4.4 quake centered in the San Fernando Valley rattled a swath of Southern California. That jolt shook buildings and rattled nerves but did not cause significant damage.
Friday’s “earthquake is the second in two weeks, and reminds us to be prepared,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement.
Southern California has not experienced a devastating earthquake since the 1994 magnitude-6.7 Northridge quake killed several dozen people and caused $25 billion in damage. Preliminary data suggest Friday night’s quake occurred near the Puente Hills thrust fault, which stretches from the San Gabriel Valley to downtown Los Angeles and caused the 1987 Whittier Narrows earthquake, USGS seismologist Lucy Jones said.
“It’s a place where we’ve had a lot of earthquakes in the past,” she said.
The 5.9-magnitude Whittier Narrows quake killed eight people and caused $360m in damage.
On Friday night, the Los Angeles Philharmonic didn’t miss a note even as the quake rattled downtown Los Angeles’s Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“The LA Philharmonic should get combat pay,” audience member Michael Healy told the newspaper.