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Breaking news:

5.1 earthquake causes damage; some flee from homes

By Rong-Gong Lin II and Victoria Kim

The quake, centered near La Habra, caused furniture to tumble, pictures to fall off walls and glass to break. Merchandise fell off store shelves, and there were reports of plate glass windows shattered.

The first of a swarm of earthquakes hit the border of La Habra and Brea shortly after 8 p.m. with a 3.6 temblor. About an hour later, at 9:09 p.m., a 5.1 shock hit, followed by at least two more aftershocks in the 3-point range in the next half hour. At least 20 aftershocks had been recorded by late Friday.

U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Lucy Jones said the 5.1 quake has a 5% chance of being a foreshock of a larger temblor.

"There could be even a larger earthquake in the next few hours or the next few days," Jones said during a media briefing at Caltech.

Experts said that based on preliminary data, the series of earthquakes appeared to have occurred on the Puente Hills thrust fault, which stretches from the San Gabriel Valley to downtown Los Angeles. The fault also caused the 1987 Whittier Narrows earthquake.

A 5.1 earthquake really gets your attention. But earthquakes that size don't tend to cause a lot of catastrophic damage.

This article appeared just yesterday:

Is California overdue for a big earthquake?

By Randy Dotinga

On March 17, a mild earthquake rattled countless Los Angeles-area residents awake shortly before their alarms went off at 6:30 a.m. The Monday morning temblor was the first notable L.A.-area quake in years.

A lengthy vacation from earthquakes certainly sounds nice. But John Dvorak, a geophysicist who now works at a astronomical observatory in Hawaii, warns that a quake break can just be the calm before the earthquake storm.

I'd also like to mention the 50th anniversary on Thursday of the Great Alaskan Earthquake. A 9.2 magnitude quake that killed more than 130 people.

Recent local geological events here in Washington may approach that death toll. The giant slide in Oso has killed 25 and left 90 missing.

Double-Barreled Blow: How the Oso Mudslide Went Down
 

UPDATE 3:27 AM PST: The latest aftershock was a 2.6

Earthquake: 2.6 quake strikes near La Habra, California

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