Quake with 5.3 magnitude hits off coast of Southern California

Earthquake

An natural disaster with a magnitude of 5.3 struck off the coast of Southern California on Thursday, officials at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) say.

The epicenter of the quake was approximately 57 kilometers southwest of Santa Cruz Island and about 11 miles deep in the ocean. No tsunami warnings were in effect in the minutes following the quake, the US National Tsunami Warning Center said.

"That's part of life in Southern California", Jones said.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage by far.

Jones, formerly of the USGS, described it as a "moderate"-size natural disaster".

The Los Angeles Fire Department went into "earthquake mode", meaning firefighters from all neighborhood fire stations conducted a survey of their areas.




It comes after several earthquakes along a New Zealand fault-line prompted fears of a "megathrust" quake and devastating tsunamis.

The quake, triggered by off-shore faults that are part of a system that bends around the famous San Andreas Fault, was initially reported as a magnitude-5.0.

The warning was long "enough for us to puzzle about it before the shaking hit", Southern California Earthquake Center Director John Vidale told the Los Angeles Times.

Asked was it likely to follow typical aftershock patterns, Hough said "We can never count on earthquakes to obey the averages" but said that they did expect an aftershock pattern, most likely peaking in the magnitude 4 range.

The 2014 La Habra quake is the most recent temblor of this size, she said.

"We recognise that the probability of having a large natural disaster goes up".

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