June 16, 2005
Photo: Earthquake recorded on a seismograph. An earthquake measuring 5.3 on the Richter Scale struck east of the US West Coast city of Los Angeles, shaking the second largest US city, the US Geological Survey said(AFP/File/Romeo Gacad)
YUCAIPA, Calif. - A moderate earthquake shook most of Southern California Thursday, startling people and knocking items off shelves, desks and walls, but there were no immediate reports of significant damage or injuries.
The 1:53 p.m. quake had a preliminary magnitude of 5.3 and was centered three miles northeast of Yucaipa in San Bernardino County east of Los Angeles, according to the
U.S. Geological Survey. About 25 aftershocks followed in little over an hour, the strongest estimated at magnitude 3.5.
Shaking was reported from Los Angeles to San Diego and in counties to the east. Rock slides were reported on Highway 38 in the San Bernardino Mountains.
"All of a sudden I heard a loud rumbling sound, kind of like thunder," said Nick Brandes, 25, manager of a 99 Cents store in Yucaipa (pronounced yoo-KY'-pah). "At the front, all the customers were in a panic. They were all just in a hurry to get out."
The quake occurred at a depth of less than eight miles, according to the
"The customers were just stunned, and they just stood there," said Andrea Cabrera, an employee at the local Walgreens drug store, where a few items fell.
It was the third significant quake to affect California since Sunday when a magnitude-5.2 quake shook the Anza area of Riverside County. A 7.0 quake struck Tuesday night 90 miles off Northern California.
Earthquake scientists did not immediately know which fault the temblor occurred on.
U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Susan Hough in Pasadena said she believed the quake was most likely triggered by Sunday's quake near Anza, 20 miles south of Palms Springs.
"The shaking from the Anza earthquake sort of juggled the fault in this other area that probably caused this earthquake to happen," Hough said.
Several witnesses noted that the quake wasn't strong at the outset but grew quickly.
"It kind of started out weak, kind of had that wavy motion. I had stuff fall off of my desk and off the wall," said Steve Jaronski, an employee of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.
None of Southern California Edison's 4.6 million customers lost power, said spokesman Tom Boyd. The Los Angeles Fire Department had no reports of any significant damage, said spokesman Brian Humphrey.
"It was a good little shake but nothing fell off the walls or anything," said John Sharp, 80, a volunteer at the Yucaipa
Chamber of Commerce. "I've been thrown before. I've been through a few of them."
The windows began shaking at the Pizza Chalet in Yucaipa and "everything started moving," said employee Josh Fred, 17.
Through the window, he said he saw people running out of a furniture store and a Big Lots store.
"We have video games and they started to move around. I held on to them so they didn't fall," he said.
Dishes and supplies "started shaking real loud," he said.
There was a couple in the restaurant when the quake and several aftershocks hit, but they didn't leave and when the shaking stopped, they resumed eating their pepperoni pizza, Fred said.
Channon Kelly, 31, was eating her lunch in downtown Los Angeles when the quake hit.
"I almost jumped out of my seat," Kelly said. "I'm starting to get freaked out. We've had so many in the last week, the one Sunday and then in Northern California. I could hear the windows rattling and feel it all at the same time."
Nelson Amador was more blase, guessing the strength of the quake while on a cigarette break from his job as cook at the Courtyard Cafe in Los Angeles. "This one didn't bother me. I'm used to it," Amador said. "Anyway, I'm from Honduras, we worry more about hurricanes than earthquakes."