Aftershocks rattle California following 5.1 earthquake

VICTORIA CAVALIERE
Last updated 08:02 30/03/2014

A magnitude 5.1 earthquake rattles outside the city of La Habra, about 30km east of downtown Los Angeles.

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More than 100 aftershocks have been reported across Southern California following a 5.1 magnitude earthquake that rattled suburban Los Angeles and at least temporarily displaced about 50 people but caused no serious structural damage, seismologists said.

No injuries were reported from the Friday quake centred outside La Habra, about 32 km east of downtown Los Angeles, but the temblor displaced at least 50 people in Fullerton, about 8 km from the epicentre, because of minor damage, Fullerton Police Lieutenant Mike Chlebowski said.

"Five houses and 20 apartments were damaged by the earthquake, but the fire department is in the process of determining the extent," he said, adding that a water main break in the city forced the closure of surrounding streets due to flooding.

The temblor also shook items off tables, rattled chandeliers and resulted in scattered damage to cars and property, including setting off a rockslide in the Orange County city of Brea that flipped a car on its roof.

Aftershocks were still being recorded by the United States Geological Survey early on Saturday, nearly 12 hours after the quake struck. But the Los Angeles Fire Department said it had called off its "earthquake mode."

"Fortunately no significant damage occurred in the 756 square km jurisdiction," the department said.

The quake was felt as far away as Palm Springs in the east, San Diego in the south and Ventura County to the north. While not large, the event "seems unusual, of course, because a lot of people felt it," said Doug Given, a USGS geophysicist.

"These quakes occur in populated areas and people try to put two and two together and predict that something more is coming, but that's simply not the case," he said.

Seismologists said the Friday quake, which struck at 9:09 pm (05.09pm NZT Saturday), had a 5 per cent chance of being a foreshock to a bigger temblor but that possibility diminishes over time.

The quake shut down Metrolink trains to allow for inspection of tracks and cars. In Anaheim, Disneyland briefly turned off park rides as a precaution and asked guests to remain seated.

But the Los Angeles Philharmonic didn't miss a note even as the quake rattled downtown Los Angeles's Walt Disney Concert Hall, The Los Angeles Times reported.

"The L.A. Philharmonic should get combat pay," audience member Michael Healy told the newspaper.

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- AP

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