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:
OMG! Did anyone just feel that Earthquake? So scary, woke me up out of an already scary nightmare. I hate earthquakes. :(
— Paris Hilton (@ParisHilton) March 17, 2014
earthquake felt while playing happy by pharrell on radio
— Ryan Seacrest (@RyanSeacrest) March 17, 2014