Aftershocks "Likely" in Wake of 4.7 Quake

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    NEWSLETTERS

    USGS
    A magnitude-4.7 earthquake, shown on this USGS map, triggers shaking throughout the LA area Sunday night.

    A magnitude-4.7 earthquake rattled the Los Angeles area Sunday night, marking the strongest quake to hit LA since July, and experts say stronger quakes are on the way.

    The initial quake, which the U.S. Geological Society reported earlier as magnitude-5.0, struck at 8:39 p.m. Its epicenter was about one mile east of Lennox, according to the USGS.The rumbling lasted about 10 to 15 seconds. Shaking was felt throughout the Los Angeles area and as far south as North County.

    Earthquake Shatters Glass, Shakes Nerves

    [LA] Earthquake Shatters Glass, Shakes Nerves
    Residents describe a magnitude-4.7 earthquake that shook LA Sunday night. (Published Monday, May 18, 2009)

    NBCLA.com visitors reported feeling the jolt in Burbank, Pomona, San Bernardino and other areas. At least one person was hospitalized, but there were no reports of significant damage.

    It was the strongest quake to strike the Southland since a magnitude-5.5 earthquake hit in Chino Hills last July.

    Shortly afterward at 8:44 p.m, a 2.5 "microquake" struck in the area. Then a magnitude-3.1 aftershock was reported at about 8:45 p.m. This morning, seismologists are warning that more aftershocks are on their way.

    U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Susan Hough said there would likely be more aftershocks in the "threes, maybe a four," and there was a 5 percent chance of a larger quake.

    "People should be on their toes," she said.

    Officials at Los Angeles International Airport, which is near the epicenter, released a statement saying, "Operations are normal and there are no flight delays following preliminary inspections of terminals, the airfield, Sepulveda Tunnel and other areas of the LAX Central Terminal Area."

    A similar statement was issued by officials at John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana in Orange County.

    Glass broke at a Starbucks in Torrance, and one person there had minor injuries and was taken to Little Company of Mary Hospital, Torrance Fire Department dispatchers said. There was no further information on the injury or the patient, they said.

    Television images showed a Long Beach drapery business that had its storefront window knocked out.

    Tiles fell from a movie theater ceiling during a screening of "Angels and Demons" at the South Bay Galleria in Redondo Beach and moviegoers fled from the theater. Firefighters were called to repair a damaged light pole in Hawthorne, the Los Angeles Times said. No injuries were reported in either incident.

    Tom Oswalt, 46, said he was packing clothes for a business trip at his home in Long Beach when the shaking started.

    "First thing I thought was 'Is this the big one?' It was pretty powerful," he said. "My first thought was to get out of the building, get my dog and get out of the building. Now we're just waiting for aftershocks."

    Earlier this year, scientists kept close watch on an earthquake swarm near the southern end of the San Andreas Fault that shook the desert, but did not cause injuries.

    "We've had quiet and active times," said USGS seismologist Lucy Jones. "The activity that we've seen in the past year isn't the highest by a long shot, but I would no longer call Los Angeles quiet."

    The quake, which hit 8.4 miles below the surface, appears consistent with movement on the Newport-Inglewood fault, said USGS geophysicist Ken Hudnut. The Newport-Inglewood fault was responsible for the magnitude-6.4 Long Beach earthquake in 1933 that caused 120 deaths and more than $50 million in property damage.

    The last damaging earthquake in Southern California was the 1994 magnitude-6.7 Northridge quake that toppled bridges and buildings.