Rumbling ground leaves sleepers aghast

Samantha Robinson

Students had a rude awakening as a 4.4 magnitude earthquake hit one mile east, northeast from Pico Rivera and three miles south, southwest of the Whittier Narrows Recreation Area Tuesday along the Whittier Fault Line.

The quake shook the earth at 4:04am and lasted a mere three seconds. No injuries have been reported.

Seismologists said the quake happened 10 miles beneath the surface of the earth. Many people describe this earthquake as one different than others. This is because this quake was a thrust quake.

A thrust quake is where the fault line rubs against each other and one side thrusts itself over the other. This is different than the normally felt quakes in that shaking of the ground is caused by the sudden breaking and movement of large sections (tectonic plates) of the earth’s rocky outermost crust.

The thrust earthquake was felt by cities such as Norwalk, Whittier, Watts, Sun City, Bell Gardens, Maywood, and Huntington Park.

Seismologists at the Southern California Seismic Network said, “the ground shaking was moderate to strong in the epicentral area. Light shaking was recorded across the Los Angeles area, extending into the Chino basin.”

The little damage that was reported happened along the 5 freeway and Paramount Boulevard in Downy.

The road buckled causing a 2-foot wide gap in the asphalt leading to the closure of the number 3 and 4 lanes for more than an hour. Crews had the area repaired by 6:30 a.m., and the lanes were reopened.

While it only lasted a few seconds, it was enough to frazzle people out of sleep.  A Pico Rivera resident, Andrew Nava, told ABC reporters, “I actually thought it was my girlfriend waking me up to take the dog out.”

Anna Pickett, resident of Norwalk, said it scared her. “I just kept saying ‘oh my god, oh my god’. I have lived (in Norwalk) since the 1970s and I have never felt (an earthquake) like this one. It was deep and weird.”

“Something bigger is on its way, I can feel it,” she continued on.

Seismologists say along with the chance of 2.0 or 3.0 aftershocks, there is a 5 percent chance that the quake was a precursor to a larger quake of up to a 7.2 magnitude.

The most recent quake in the area happened on Oct. 1, 1987 with a magnitude of 5.9.

Experts are telling people to regard this slightly damaging quake a drill. They recommend checking your earthquake readiness kits and make sure your house is ready by strapping down big items.

Undecided major, Karen Long, said, “I ran under a door jam when I felt it, then I realized that I wasn’t supposed to do that.”

“It scared the crap out of me,” said Kimberly Mason, undecided major, “I hid under my covers.”

FEMA recommends you do the following things during an earthquake if you are indoors:

•    DROP to the ground; take COVER by getting under a sturdy table or other piece of furniture; and HOLD ON until the shaking stops. If there isn’t a table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building.
•    Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or furniture.
•    Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to go outside. Research has shown that most injuries occur when people inside buildings attempt to move to a different location inside the building or try to leave.

If you are outdoors:

•    Stay there.
•    Once in the open, stay there until the shaking stops. The greatest danger exists directly outside buildings, at exits and alongside exterior walls.

If you are in a moving vehicle:

•    Stop as quickly as safety permits and stay in the vehicle. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, overpasses, and utility wires.
•    Proceed cautiously once the earthquake has stopped. Avoid roads, bridges, or ramps that might have been damaged by the earthquake.