Southern California Earthquake
3/29/2014 12:00:00 PM
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First Posting 3/29/2014 12:00:00 PM  
Posting Date: 3/29/2014 12:00:00 PM

On Friday night at 9:09 p.m. PDT, an M5.1 earthquake struck Southern California, rattling several counties including Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Orange, Ventura, and Riverside. The quake occurred at a relatively shallow depth of 4.6 miles (7.5 km), and its epicenter was located in northern Orange County, approximately 3 miles (5 km) north of the city of Fullerton, according to the United States Geologic Survey (USGS). The temblor was preceded by two foreshocks about an hour prior, and more than 100 aftershocks have been reported since.

According to preliminary analyses from the USGS, the causative fault may be the Puente Hills Thrust, a blind thrust fault that was the source of the 1987 Whittier Narrows M5.9 earthquake. The fault extends northwestward into downtown Los Angeles, and seismologists believe that a major event on this fault could result in catastrophic damage in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. The average recurrence interval of a large rupture (~M7.5) of the thrust fault is estimated to be once every several thousand years.

During last night's earthquake, five houses and 20 apartments were damaged in Fullerton, and officials are examining whether they have been structurally compromised. The shaking has caused minor damage to the contents of homes and businesses, but no significant damage or injuries have been reported at this time.

USGS seismologists report a 5% probability that the earthquake could be a foreshock to a larger event. AIR will monitor the situation and provide updates as necessary.

Southern California Earthquake
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