Southern California went back to work as usual today after being shaken by a strong earthquake.
The 5.4 magnitude quake, which rocked the area from Los Angeles to San Diego yesterday, caused only limited damage and a few injuries but served as a reminder of the seismic danger just below the surface.
The epicentre was just outside Chino Hills, 29 miles south-east of Los Angeles in San Bernardino County, and it was felt as far east as Las Vegas. Dozens of aftershocks followed, the largest a magnitude 3.8.
“We were really fortunate this time,” said Jeremy Ault, of the Chino Valley Independent Fire District. “It’s a good opportunity to remember that we live in earthquake country. This is part of living in Southern California and we need to make sure we’re prepared.”
The magnitude-5.9 Whittier Narrows quake in 1987 was the last big one in the region. That damaged older buildings and houses in communities east of Los Angeles.
As strongly as it was felt, yesterday’s quake was far less powerful than the deadly magnitude 6.7 Northridge earthquake that toppled bridges and buildings in January 1994.
The state Office of Emergency Services in Sacramento received scattered reports of minor infrastructure damage, including broken water mains and petrol lines. The damage was in the greater Los Angeles area.
“I thank God there have not been any reports of serious injuries or damage to properties,” said governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. “People understandably are very nervous.”
Minor structural damage was reported throughout Los Angeles, along with five minor injuries and people stuck in lifts.
Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure theme parks were temporarily closed for inspections after the quake.