A 4.2 magnitude earthquake and its aftershocks rolled through the Los Angeles area early Thursday morning, but there were no immediate reports of damage.
The United States Geological Survey found that the earthquake occurred just over a mile north of Pacoima, a neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley, at about 4:30 a.m. local time. The area shuddered from aftershocks after the quake, which was about five miles deep.
There was a small probability that a major earthquake could occur, but that probability decreased over time, the Southern California Seismic Network said.
It was the largest earthquake in the area since a 4.4 magnitude earthquake in March 2014, and a Los Angeles Police Department spokeswoman, Norma Eisenman, said there were no immediate reports of damage.
A spokesman for the city’s fire department was unavailable.
A magnitude 4.2 earthquake shook parts of southern California early Thursday morning, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
The tremor was centered just north of Los Angeles.https://t.co/hRQfMD6QiT
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) July 30, 2020
John Bellini, a geophysicist at the National Earthquake Information Center in Colorado, said in an interview that an earthquake of this magnitude could generally shake items off shelves and cause cracks in plaster or windows, depending on the condition of a structure.
But often, he added, the response to such a jolt could be overly large in Los Angeles and surrounding communities, where about 18 million people live.
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It is a normal-size earthquake for California,” he said. “You get these from time to time, but they’re not so common in the Los Angeles area, where many people feel it. That’s why there’s so much interest. “
While people in California sometimes speak with fear of an impending earthquake of much greater magnitude, the geological survey predicts a 31 percent probability of a 7.5 magnitude quake in the Los Angeles region over the next 30 years.
This month, a group of researchers estimated a 1 percent probability that a major earthquake could occur along a section of the San Andreas Fault over the next 12 months. Other researchers disputed their findings, saying that the analysis overestimated the probability of such an earthquake.