July 30th, 2008 12:38 EST
5.4 Earthquake Rattles Los Angeles Area
A magnitude-5.4 earthquake rattled Los Angeles today, causing strong shaking, minor damage and was felt from Arizona to Nevada.
Nearly 50 aftershocks have been recorded so far, most of them small, many of them felt, the largest being a magnitude-3.8.
The last notable earthquakes causing significant damage in the area were the Jan. 17, 1994, magnitude-6.7 Northridge earthquake and the Oct. 1, 1987, magnitude-5.9 Whittier Narrows earthquake. In 1999, the magnitude-7.1 Hector Mine earthquake in a remote part of the Mojave Desert was widely felt through the greater Los Angeles region, but caused no damage.
Citizens who felt the earthquake can go online and report their observations on the USGS Did You Feel It? Web site. So far, about 35,000 people have reported feeling the Los Angeles earthquake.
Earthquakes cannot be predicted. But earthquake-prone areas such as Los Angeles can be prepared for earthquakes.
The Great Southern California ShakeOut, a weeklong series of special events featuring a massive earthquake drill at 10 AM on November 13, 2008, in Los Angeles, is one way for the public to get prepared for the next big earthquake. It is being sponsored by the Earthquake Country Alliance, of which the USGS is a founding member.
The ShakeOut drill centers on the ShakeOut Scenario, a realistic portrayal of what could happen in a major earthquake on the southern end of the San Andreas Fault. Created by over 300 experts led by Dr. Lucy Jones of USGS, the scenario outlines a hypothetical 7.8 magnitude earthquake originating near the Salton Sea, which would have the potential to devastate the region.
With a goal of at least 5 million participants, the ShakeOut drill will be the largest in U.S. history. Southern Californians are signing up at www.shakeout.org/register, to pledge their family, business, or organization`s participation in the drill. Registered participants receive information on how to prepare and drill, connect with other participants, and encourage a dialogue within the community about earthquake preparedness. In the first 6 weeks of registration, over 1.9 million people are registered to be part of the drill.
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Office of Communication
119 National Center
Reston, VA 20192