5.4 Earthquake Strikes Los Angeles

July 29, 2008 Updated: March 14, 2012
A man photographs bricks that fell from a building during a 5.4 magnitude earthquake in an alleyway in Pomona, California on July 29, 2008.   (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)
A man photographs bricks that fell from a building during a 5.4 magnitude earthquake in an alleyway in Pomona, California on July 29, 2008. (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

A minor earthquake shook Southern California on Tuesday, with minimal structural damage, and no reported injuries.

Other than saturated phone lines and a few public building evacuated as a precaution, life went on as usual in the Golden State.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reported that a magnitude 5.4 earthquake struck near Los Angeles at 11:42 a.m. local time on Tuesday, July 29.

The epicenter of the earthquake was three miles west-southwest of Chino Hills, California and 28 miles south-southeast of the Los Angeles Civic Center, the USGS said.

There have been no reports of damages or injuries inside the city of Los Angeles, but there have been some power outages, according to Anna Burton, the assistant general manager of the City of Los Angeles Emergency Management Department “We’re doing a region-wide assessment,” said Burton.

Minor damage was reported in Chino, but according to residents, some of the biggest issues faced were phone lines flooded with calls, which made it nearly impossible to make cell phone or land-line calls for close to 45 minutes.

Geophysicist Ned Field sits near a map showing earthquake threat as representatives of the Southern California Earthquake Center, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the California Geologic Survey present new statewide earthquake probabilities for California  (David McNew/Getty Images)
Geophysicist Ned Field sits near a map showing earthquake threat as representatives of the Southern California Earthquake Center, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the California Geologic Survey present new statewide earthquake probabilities for California (David McNew/Getty Images)

Following the main earthquake, about 50 aftershocks rolled through the city.

Initially, the quake was estimated to be a 5.8, but it was eventually pegged at 5.4.

The survey originally judged that the quake was “moderate,” meaning that it could cause minor damages to surrounding buildings, but was later brought down to “minor” status.

California is earthquake-prone due to the convergence of several continental plates in the state.

The areas of convergence create “fault lines,” and the slipping of plates past each other periodically generate earthquakes of varying intensity along the fault lines.

According to a press release from the Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management, the LA Department of Water and Power reported that 24 customers were without electricity mid-afternoon. 

Southern California Edison reported 169 customers were without service.

The last significant earthquake causing significant damage in Southern California was the Jan. 17, 1994, magnitude-6.7 Northridge earthquake, said the USGS.

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