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After a magnitude-5.4 earthquake struck Chino Hills and sent more than 30 aftershocks all over Los Angeles on July 29, many wonder if it’s a sign of a greater quake to come.
The threat of the “Big One” has hovered over the mind of Angelenos in the 14 years since the 1994 Northridge earthquake and according to the Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast, a similar sized-quake or greater will strike L.A. within the next 30 years.
With that in mind, Tuesday’s tremor felt more like a drill than a cause for panic, with most residents being reminded of what an earthquake felt like.
At 11:42 a.m. on July 29, the quake hit with an epicenter two miles southwest of Chino Hills and shook buildings all over Los Angeles. Residents as far as south as San Diego, east as Las Vegas and north as Rosamond—55 miles away—also felt the quake.
Initially ruled a magnitude of 5.8, seismologists later declassified it to a 5.4, defined as a moderate quake by the United States Geological Survey. The aftershocks ranged as high as 3.6.
It was the strongest earthquake to affect Los Angeles County since the Northridge quake, a magnitude-6.7, killed 72 people and left $12.5 million in damages.
While no major damages were reported, the quake was strong enough to temporarily derail cell-phone connections around the city as well as shake the nerves of residents that ran under doorways or hid under their desks.
For most Angelenos, however, the quake was merely a brief hiccup in their day as they continued to go about their business. The Dodgers game went on as planned and many business continued to function.
But for the first time in several years, Angelenos got a reminder that the Big One could be around the corner and it may be time to review what to do in case of a more serious quake.
If you are inside, stand in a doorway or get underneath a desk or table. If outside, stand away from buildings, trees or electrical lines.
Earthquake kits can be purchased at stores such as Target or Home Depot and more information can be found in the L.A. Fire Department’s Earthquake Handbook, available online at lafd.org/eqbook.pdf.