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An strong earthquake shook large parts of Los Angeles Area

Chino Hills, July 29, 2008, 11.42AM
Raj Kaur

An strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.4 shook large parts of Southern California, shaking a wide swath from Ventura County to San Diego.

The quake shook downtown L.A. buildings and was felt as far east as Palm Springs. The magnitude of the quake was originally set at 5.8.

There is no immediate reports of injuries.

Distances (3 miles WSW (240°) from Chino Hills, CA
28 miles ESE (104°) from Los Angeles Civic Center, CA


  • Tuesday, July 29, 2008 at 11:42:15 AM at epicenter

    Location 33.955°N, 117.765°W
    Depth 13.6 km (8.5 miles)
    Distances 4 km (3 miles) WSW (240°) from Chino Hills, CA
    7 km (4 miles) SE (135°) from Diamond Bar, CA
    8 km (5 miles) NNE (16°) from Yorba Linda, CA
    12 km (7 miles) S (184°) from Pomona, CA
    46 km (28 miles) ESE (104°) from Los Angeles Civic Center, CA

The quake was centered 29 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles near the San Bernardino County city of Chino Hills, and the U.S. Geological Survey estimated the quake was about 8 miles below the earth's surface.

"It will certainly cause cracked plaster and broken windows, but probably not structural damage," Hutton said.

The magnitude-5.9 Whittier Narrows quake in 1987 was the last big shake in that area. That quake heavily damaged older buildings and houses in communities east of Los Angeles..

Buildings swayed in downtown Los Angeles for several seconds.

Workers quickly evacuated some office buildings.

"It was dramatic. The whole building moved and it lasted for a while," said Los Angeles County sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore, who was in the sheriff's suburban Monterey Park headquarters east of Los Angeles.

As strongly as it was felt, the quake was far less powerful than the magnitude-6.7 Northridge earthquake that badly damaged the region on Jan. 17, 1994. That quake was the last damaging temblor in Southern California. It killed 72 people, injured more than 9,000 and caused $25 billion in damage in the metropolitan area.

The damage created by an earthquake depends greatly on where it hits. A 7.1 quake hit the Mojave Desert in 1999 but caused only a few injuries and no deaths.

California is one of the world's most seismically active regions. More than 300 faults crisscross the state, which sits atop two of Earth's major tectonic plates, the Pacific and North American plates. About 10,000 quakes each year rattle Southern California alone, although most of them are too small to be felt.