A magnitude 3.8 earthquake that shook the Los Angeles area early Sunday morning shows that what happened in Nepal two weeks ago could happen here at home.
Many LA residents were awoken to rattling right before dawn on Sunday, but officials reported no injuries or damage as a result. The earthquake struck at 4am local time and was centered in the Baldwin Hills neighborhood, about 7 miles southwest of downtown LA.
The small size and LA’s strict building code were the likely reasons for no loss of life and minimal damage.
The United States Geological Survey reported that LA residents could feel light or weak shaking as far as 100 miles to the northwest in the town of Maricopa. The quake’s preliminary magnitude measured 3.9, but it was slightly downgraded after.
The Los Angeles Fire Department announced the region was safe after its 106 fire stations conducted a 470 square mile damage assessment. People took to social media to describe their experience, described as feeling a sudden jolt followed by a gentle rocking sensation.
Sunday morning’s quake was the third to measure greater than 3.0 this year, and occured along a northern stretch of the Newport-Inglewood seismic fault zone. A quake measuring 3.3 and another measuring 3.4 hit the same area on April 13 and April 30, respectively, highlighting just how geologically active the well populated area is.
Such earthquakes are common in the seismically active region and are usually too weak to cause enough ground motion to damage property. Lucy Jones, a USGS seismologist, tweeted that “little earthquakes happen all the time, and we can’t find significant patterns.”
LA isn’t the only area of the U.S. to affected by quakes since the Nepal disaster. It follows a stronger 4.2 magnitude quake that occurred in the middle of the day on Saturday near Kalamazoo, Michgan. The Michigan quake produced weak shaking that residents could feel as far as Detroit, Toledo, Ohio, and South Bend Indiana.