A magnitude 5.3 earthquake struck near the Channel Islands early Thursday afternoon, jolting residents in the Los Angeles area and beyond as Southern California saw its largest quake in more than four years, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
The temblor hit beneath the Pacific Ocean about 12:29 p.m., at a depth of about 10 miles beneath the surface, USGS reported. It was centered about 41 miles southwest of Ventura and 85 miles west of Los Angeles.
It was produced by offshore faults that “are part of the system that moves Southern California around a bend of the San Andreas fault,” seismologist Lucy Jones tweeted.
Jones, formerly of the USGS, described it as an earthquake of “moderate” size.
There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage, according to law enforcement and fire agencies across Southern California.
The Los Angeles Fire Department went into “earthquake mode” following the shaking, but was back in normal operation mode once a survey of the city was completed.
Shaking was felt all along the coast, from the San Luis Obispo area to the north to San Clemente in the south, USGS reported.
Many of the more than 300 day visitors and campers who were on Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz and Anacapa islands when the temblor struck reported feeling a jolt and rolling motions, according to Yvonne Menard, a spokeswoman for Channel Islands National Park.
A couple of bricks fell off a chimney structure on a Nature Conservancy property on Santa Cruz Island, but beyond that there were no injuries on any of the islands, she said. No evacuations were ordered.
On social media, people across the Southern California region also reported feeling the quake, with many describing it as “rolling.”
One woman said the quake’s “rolling motion” caused walls to creak and items to swing in Torrance.
For those working in high-rise buildings, the shaking was more intensely felt.
“It lasted about a minute and it was pretty scary,” said Gary Daugenti, who was on the 12th floor of an office building when the shaking began. “It started rolling but it got a little bit more violent as it went on, but it didn’t get to the point where it was a violent shake.”
Others described feeling the temblor from as far away as San Jacinto and central Orange County.
Some people in the Los Angeles area received about a 10-second warning before the shaking hit thanks to the state’s earthquake early warning system, according to seismologists at the California Institute of Technology.
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.
According to Jones, a quake this large hasn’t occurred in the region in several years, a period she called “quiet.”
“It’s a regular sort of earthquake that we expect somewhere in Southern California,” Jones told KTLA. “Magnitude 5.3 is a size that happens on average about once a year in Southern California.”
The 2014 La Habra quake is the most recent temblor of this size, she said. That quake was a 5.1.
For perspective, the 1994 Northridge quake would have had 50 to 60 times as much energy, Jones added.
Ventura County Fire Department Capt. Steve Swindle told KTLA he was at the agency’s headquarters in Camarillo when the earthquake hit and felt it.
He said that during a tremor, officials at stations countywide put out their apparatuses and fire engines so they can be prepared to respond in the event of an aftershock. Crews drove around to assess possible damage Thursday afternoon, he said.
“So far, thankfully, there hasn’t been any damage reported out of this,” he said.
He advised residents of Ventura County to visit VCreadysetgo.org and be prepared for other incidents.
“It is Southern California, we are earthquake country. We know that it’s coming,” Swindle said. “Being prepared is always your best bet to help yourself.”