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Friday, January 9, 2009


An EARTHQUAKE estimated at magnitude 4.5 centered about a mile south of San Bernardino jolted Southern California on Thursday January 8th 2009 but caused no major damage, according to authorities.

The earthquake was felt just before 8 p.m. in downtown Los Angeles, parts of the High Desert, San Pedro and coastal and inland Orange County, but not as far south as San Diego.

"It was a hard jolt that lasted no more than five to eight seconds," said San Bernardino Fire Department spokesman Steve Tracy. "There were some minor cracks in the concrete, one lady's roof suffered slight damage, there was damage to some walkways but nothing major."

U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Lucy Jones said the quake appeared to strike near the northern end of the San Jacinto fault, which is considered part of the San Andreas fault system. It was initially reported as magnitude 5.0 but was soon downgraded.

The EARTHQUAKE was comparable to the 1988 Pasadena earthquake and about 25 times smaller than the Chino Hills quake last summer.

"It's the type of earthquake we used to have in L.A. every year in the '80s," Jones said. "After Northridge, it went quiet."

Jones said a magnitude 3.3 aftershock occurred about an hour later.

Karen Brown, a dispatcher with the U.S. Forest Service working at Tippecanoe Avenue and Mill Street, said she hadn't heard of any damage.

"It felt like the building was picked up, dropped and shook," she said.

The quake struck at 7:49 p.m. and could be felt as far away as San Diego, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The July 29 Chino Hills quake that broke water lines, shattered windows, knocked food off grocery-store shelves and knocked out power measured 5.4 by comparison.

There were also a number of small aftershocks in the hour following the quake, including a 3.3 earthquake in San Bernardino at 8:47 p.m.

Public-safety agencies said there were few reports of immediate damage.

"We do not have any calls for service, anyone reporting damage to property or injuries to any person," said sheriff's spokeswoman Jodi Miller.

County and San Bernardino city fire officials also said there were no reports of injuries or damage.

Loma Linda fire officials said a woman they thought was about 90 years old fell out of bed while reading the newspaper and landed on her leg, breaking it. She also had a bloody nose and lip.

The earthquake was powerful enough to knock over small objects sitting on tables in Los Angeles.

It appeared to be centered near the San Bernardino Police Department's headquarters.

"It was actually underneath our E Street gate," said Lt. Gwendolyn Waters.

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