The quake's epicenter was just northwest of Los Angeles.     Photo: Courtesy of Google Maps

Tremor Shakes Los Angeles

LAPD: "We are well aware of it."

Last week, Northern California "dodged a bullet" when a magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck off the Eureka coast. This morning, Southern California took its turn. A magnitude 4.4 quake originated in the San Fernando Valley, about six miles north-northwest of the westside L.A. neighborhood Westwood.

Occurring at 6:25 a.m., the earthquake was the largest to strike Los Angeles in years and shook many area residents awake. In a press conference, USGS seismologist Robert Graves noted that six aftershocks, including a magnitude 2.7 tremor, followed the quake but that the probability of the quake foreshadowing a more serious episode was only about 5 percent. Scientists have predicted for years that the next "megaquake" to shake the West Coast could strike Los Angeles.

Because Southern California hasn't seen this type of moderate earthquake in a while, it continued the trend of major metropolitan areas overreacting to moderate tremors. The LAPD tweeted a request asking residents to stop calling 911 about the quake, saying, "We are well aware of it. Lines need to be kept open for emergencies." Local news anchors on KTLA reacted when the quake shook their studio during their broadcast.

Celebrities also took to Twitter to share their thoughts, forever answering the question of how American luminaries like Kim Kardashian and Ryan Seacrest would respond to a natural disaster:


"South Africa remains the principal source of rhino horn for the illicit trade," according to a report from the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The report estimates that 3,226 horns were taken from rhinos poached in Africa from 2009 to September 2012, which excludes last year's massive hike in rhino poaching.

"This is very much like our drug war on our U.S./Mexican border," Howard Buffett told reporters, referring to how illegal hunters from Mozambique infiltrate Kruger National Park (KNP) in South Africa.

The money will fund a 30-month campaign in Kruger National Park and provide rangers with a helicopter, an aerostat balloon, and land vehicles equipped with sensors to track down poachers.

In parts of Asia, rhino horns are worth more per ounce than gold. Believed to be a cure-all for everything from cancer to hangovers, one kilogram (2.2 pounds) of rhino horn can fetch between $65,000 to $100,000 in Vietnam.

Edna Molewa, South Africa's Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, told Reuters that "fighting and winning the battle in South Africa is fighting and winning the battle in the world."


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