4.7 California Quake Rattles L.A., Southern Cali; No Deaths Reported

By iScienceTimes Staff on March 12, 2013 12:13 PM EDT

earthquake
The San Andreas fault, pictured , was not responsible for Monday's California quake. (Photo: Creative Commons)

A magnitude 4.7 California quake struck southern California on Monday leaving residents of Riverside County shaken but unharmed. There were no immediate reports of serious damage or injuries, though some broken windows, falling dishes and minor property damage occurred.

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The 4.7 California quake hit at 8:39 p.m. and was centered near Lennox, a community between Inglewood and Hawthorne and east of Los Angeles International Airport. Lasting about 15 seconds, the temblor could be felt as far away as the High Desert, Indio, Carpinteria and San Diego County.

It's unclear what fault the 4.7 California quake struck on. The Newport-Inglewood fault, which has produced several powerful temblors, runs through that general area.

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. Here's the official summary of the 4.7 California quake from the U.S. Geological Survey:

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake struck about 3 miles east of Los Angeles International airport at 8:39 p.m. (PDT) local time, at a depth of 8.5 miles. Given that the location is in a densely populated part of the Los Angeles basin, it was widely felt. Initial estimates from the USGS ShakeMap indicate that although strong shaking will have been felt by many people, damage is expected to be light.

The initial focal mechanism is consistent with slip on the Newport-Inglewood fault, which was the source of the damaging 1933 Long Beach earthquake. Three of the early aftershocks, however, are west of the Newport-Inglewood fault trend. Later aftershocks are expected to help define the fault plane that ruptured. The Los Angeles basin is crossed from northwest to southeast by the intensively studied Newport-Inglewood fault zone. In 1920, the Inglewood earthquake (M 4.9) occurred in nearly the identical location to this evening's earthquake. The 1920 event was the original reason for identification of this as an active fault zone capable of damaging earthquakes, which then later proved to be the case in the 1933 Long Beach event. After the 1933 event, the name of the fault zone was changed to the Newport-Inglewood fault zone in recognition that it is continuous from Beverly Hills to Newport Beach.

Lucy Jones, seismologist at the U.S. Geological Survey, told the L.A. Times the earthquake appears to be consistent with a rupture on the Newport-Inglewood fault. She said the 4.7 California quake wasn't strong enough to break the surface and that the fault isn't known for producing large quakes like the San Andreas fault does.

"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. It's a real garden-variety California earthquake so far."

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