Understanding the Recent 4.6 Magnitude Earthquake in Southern California

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Dr. Jessica Nelson
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Understanding the Recent 4.6 Magnitude Earthquake in Southern California

Overview of the Event

An earthquake with a magnitude of 4.6 recently struck the Southern California coast near Malibu. This event resulted in widespread shaking in the Los Angeles region. However, no immediate reports of significant damage or injuries were made. Seismologist Lucy Jones confirmed that the quake's intensity was not severe enough to cause expectations of substantial harm.

Residents and businesses in the affected regions, extending from the Malibu coast south to Orange County, and east to downtown Los Angeles, reported feeling the quake. However, there were no significant incidents. The earthquake was not related to a separate 5.7-magnitude shock that hit Hawaii's Big Island on the same day. Coincidentally, this event occurred on the 53rd anniversary of the 1971 San Fernando earthquake, which was significantly more severe.

Impact and Aftermath

The earthquake, which was likely on the Malibu Coast Fault, resulted in more than a dozen aftershocks. It was felt across a wide range of areas, including Los Angeles, South Bay, Riverside, and Orange County. Notwithstanding, there were no immediate reports of significant damage. The Los Angeles Fire Department was conducting a damage survey to ascertain the extent of the quake's impact.

Residents reported experiencing the shaking, with some receiving a few seconds of warning from the USGS earthquake early warning system. The earthquake was felt across a wide swath of Southern California, causing dishes and windows to rattle. Several smaller earthquakes have also been reported in the region recently, adding to the residents' concerns.

Emergency Response

In response to the earthquake, the Los Angeles Fire Department activated its Earthquake Mode. While there were no immediate reports of significant damage or a tsunami warning, the department remains vigilant. Dr. Lucy Jones warned that the 4.6 quake could be a precursor for a stronger one, with about a 5% chance of a bigger event within the next couple of days.

The U.S. National Tsunami Warning Center also confirmed that there was no danger from the earthquake. This assurance is crucial, especially considering the quake's widespread impact, including the coast, downtown Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley, South Bay, Riverside, and Orange counties.

Historical Context

This earthquake occurs on the same date as the deadly magnitude-6.5 1971 San Fernando earthquake, which caused significant damage and casualties. The 1971 earthquake resulted in 64 deaths and over $500 million in damage. While the recent quake's magnitude was not of a severity that would cause expectations of damage, it serves as a reminder of the ever-present threat of earthquakes in the region.