Moderate earthquake in Los Angeles area, California - Minor damage to walls and roads - September 19, 2020

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Update 8:19 UTC
Twitter users showing pictures of cracked walls after the LA earthquake:

Update 7:45 UTC

Update 7:32 UTC
Following data revision USGS has updated the quake to Magnitude 4.5. The new ShakeMaps basing on the revised data:


Update 7:18 UTC
Fallen items were reported from many areas near the epicenter. The Police Department of Los Angeles is currently checking critical facilities near the epicenter to see if damage occurred. So far there were no reports of damage. The maximum intensity of the quake, as reported by residents, was V to VI, which was in the range of our calculated maximum intensity.
However, it seems that the quake was felt less widely in southern California as initially calculated, so we adapted our ShakeMap calculation below to real data.

Due to the calculated focal mechanism of the quake, a east-west- striking thrust, it seems likely that the quake originated from the Puente Hills blind thrust fault, which runs right beneath Downtown LA and is considered one of the most dangerous faults in the LA area. However, moderate quakes like this have happened several times in the past decades along this fault, so this is not a kind of abnormal behaviour.

What is a blind thrust fault?
A thrust fault is defined as a fracture within the earth's crust, where one rock segment is pushed above another due to compression. Famous kind of thrust faults are the subduction zones, for example the Cascadia subduction zone along the West Coast of the US. A blind thrust fault is a compression zone which does not reach the surface. Therefore it is not possible to identify these kind of faults just from geological surface records. 
In LA area, several active thrust faults are present due to the bending of San Andreas fault.

Update 7:01 UTC
A first interpretation by Dr. Lucy Jones (also see the following Tweets):

One of the strongest earthquakes in many months has hit the greater Los Angeles area on Friday shortly before midnight. According to preliminary USGS data the quake reached Magnitude 4.6 and was located just a few kilometer east of the LA city center near South San Gabriel. Moderate to strong shaking was felt in many parts of LA and surrounding areas. However, due to the depth of the hypocenter, does not expect any significant event from this event. Damage to objects or furniture might occur at some places.
People near the epicenter should expect smaller aftershocks within the next hours and days.
more information soon... (keep this page open)



Most important Earthquake Data:

Magnitude : 4.54

Local Time (conversion only below land) : Unknown

GMT/UTC Time : 2020-09-19 06:38:47

Depth (Hypocenter) : 16.89 km

Depth and Magnitude updates in the list below.

Share your earthquake experience (I Have Felt It) with our readers.
Click on the "I Felt It" button behind the corresponding earthquake. Your earthquake experience is not only important for science, but also for people in the area as well as our global readership.

Refresh this list
SRC Location UTC Date/time M D INFO
EMSC Southern California Sep 19 06:39 4.5 20 MAP
USGS South El Monte, Ca Sep 19 06:38 4.5 16 MAP I Felt It INFO
  • Los Angeles - The shaking lasted about 25 seconds.
  • bellfower - Strong jolt, with shaking lasting about 10 seconds.
  • Vista, CA - Weak shaking
  • Pomona - 10 secs
  • Pasadena - Moderate shaking
  • Burbank - Noticeable, a few seconds, no damage as far as I can see
  • Riverside - no damage, lasted about 5-10seconds
  • Carson - Cabinets and wall compartments were rattling. No unstable objects or anything broken. Ended by the time I got off the bed
  • Westminster - Moderate shaking
  • los angeles - No damage, shaking for 20 sec?
  • SAN DIMAS - No damage
  • San Jacinto - Lasted about 10-15 seconds. Light shaking.
  • Long Beach - Moderate shaking with no damage. It lasted 5 - 10 seconds
  • Los Angeles - Mild shaking and rumbling for a few seconds, a slight pause and then moderate shaking for about 7-7 seconds. No damage.
  • Redlands - Moderate shaking
  • Santa Ana - Long medium rumbling, made my turntable needle skip. Lasted like 10 seconds?
  • Claremont - Jolt - no damage
  • los angeles - brief shaking, 5-7 sec? very rapid vibrations,(drum roll speed) up/down, not side to side. no damage, nothing fell over.
  • Norwalk - I dont know much although it did last for quite a few seconds and I heard cracking from the cieling of our apartment.
  • Malibu - Moderate shaking
  • Los Angeles - Moderate shaking
  • Corona - Light shaking
  • Anaheim, CA - It felt like it tumbled and jolted a bit
  • Murrieta - No damage. Felt house shake 20-30 seconds.
  • Los Angeles - Strong shaking
  • Los Angeles - Strong jolt woke us up lasting maybe 5 seconds.
  • Santa Clarita - Lasted 10 - 15 seconds. Chandelier shook, mirrors shook, and bed was swaying back and forth.
  • Yorba Linda - About 8 secs. Slight rattling. No interior damage. Too late to check outside.
  • LONG BEACH - Light shaking
  • Hacienda Heights - Felt strong shaking for a couple of seconds
  • Los Angeles - about 4-5 seconds, rumbling type of shake
  • La puente - About 20 seconds it was more like a hard shake short ratle then hard shake again
  • Cypress - Felt like some roller coaster went under the sofa. Lasted 10 sec
  • Santa Clarita - A jolt/lurch lasting no more than :05
  • South Pasadena - It lasted 5-6 seconds. I dropped my pizza onto my bed but still ate it. No damage at all
  • Mission Viejo - Rattled closet doors, was enough to get me out of bed
  • Glendora - 20 seconds No damage
  • Thousand Oaks - Live in a condo and felt the whole building shake for a few seconds
  • LAKE FOREST - Moderate shaking
  • Irvine CA - Light shaking
  • Los Angeles - 10 seconds of mild shaking
  • Montebello - Moderate shaking
  • Montebello - Very strong shaking
  • Sun valley - I live on a 2 story building and i thought the kids from upstairs were jumping then we felt the shaking..
  • Santa Monica - Moderately noticeable shaking for about 19 seconds or so. No damage.
  • Mission Viejo - No visible damage. Shaking & rumbling noise woke me up
  • Anaheim - House shaking 8-10 seconds. Loud crack and sudden jolt to start it...
  • Redondo Beach - Began around 11:30pm on 9/18/20 and lasted about 10-15 seconds. Rolling type earthquake - not a jolt. Bed swayed noticeably but not violently. No damage.
  • long Beach,Ca - it started with light shaking then subsided a bit and came back stronger with moderate over a period of about 15 - 30 sec.
  • los angeles - Shook for about 15-20 seconds a few things got knocked over

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    Other earthquakes in the greater epicenter area

    Strongest earthquakes (since 1900) within a 150 km radius from this earthquake


    I felt the shaking *
    Country where you felt the earthquake *
    City/Village where you felt the earthquake *
    Street or suburb (area) where you felt the earthquake
    Latitude (area) where you felt the earthquake
    Longitude (area) where you felt the earthquake
    Shaking Strength *
    MMI II (Very weak shaking) ?
    People :
    Felt by persons at rest, on upper floors or favorably placed.
    MMI III (Weak shaking) ?
    People :
    Felt indoors; hanging objects may swing, vibration similar to passing of light trucks, duration may be estimated, may not be recognized as an earthquake.
    MMI IV (Light shaking) ?
    People :
    Generally noticed indoors but not outside. Light sleepers may be awakened. Vibration may be likened to the passing of heavy traffic, or to the jolt of a heavy object falling or striking the building.
    Fittings :
    Doors and windows rattle. Glassware and crockery rattle. Liquids in open vessels may be slightly disturbed. Standing motorcars may rock.
    Structures :
    Walls and frames of buildings, and partitions and suspended ceilings in commercial buildings, may be heard to creak.
    MMI V (Moderate shaking) ?
    People :
    Generally felt outside, and by almost everyone indoors. Most sleepers awakened. A few people alarmed.
    Fittings :
    Small unstable objects are displaced or upset. Some glassware and crockery may be broken. Hanging pictures knock against the wall. Open doors may swing. Cupboard doors secured by magnetic catches may open. Pendulum clocks stop, start, or change rate.
    Structures :
    Some large display windows cracked. A few earthenware toilet fixtures cracked.
    MMI VI (Strong shaking) ?
    People Felt by all. People and animals alarmed. Many run outside. Difficulty experienced in walking steadily.
    Fittings :
    Objects fall from shelves. Pictures fall from walls. Some furniture moved on smooth floors, some unsecured free-standing fireplaces moved. Glassware and crockery broken. Very unstable furniture overturned. Small church and school bells ring. Appliances move on bench or table tops. Filing cabinets or "easy glide" drawers may open (or shut).
    Structures :
    Slight damage to buildings with low standard. Some stucco or cement plaster falls. Large display windows broken. Damage to a few weak domestic chimneys, some may fall.
    Environment :
    Trees and bushes shake, or are heard to rustle. Loose material may be dislodged from sloping ground, e.g. existing slides, talus slopes, shingle slides.
    MMI VII (Very strong shaking) ?
    General alarm. Difficulty experienced in standing. Noticed by motorcar drivers who may stop.
    Fittings :
    Large bells ring. Furniture moves on smooth floors, may move on carpeted floors. Substantial damage to fragile contents of buildings.
    Structures :
    Unreinforced stone and brick walls cracked. Low standard buildings cracked with some minor masonry falls. A few instances of damage to buildings of ordinary workmanship. Unbraced parapets, unbraced brick gables, and architectural ornaments fall. Roofing tiles, especially ridge tiles may be dislodged. Many unreinforced domestic chimneys damaged, often falling from roof-line. Water tanks Type I burst. A few instances of damage to brick veneers and plaster or cement-based linings. Unrestrained water cylinders (hot-water cylinders) may move and leak. Some common windows cracked. Suspended ceilings damaged.
    Environment :
    Water made turbid by stirred up mud. Small slides such as falls of sand and gravel banks, and small rock-falls from steep slopes and cuttings. Instances of settlement of unconsolidated or wet, or weak soils. Some fine cracks appear in sloping ground. A few instances of liquefaction (i.e. small water and sand ejections).
    MMI VIII (Severe shaking) ?
    People Alarm may approach panic. Steering of motorcars greatly affected. Structures : Low standard buildings heavily damaged, some collapse. ordinary workmanship buildings damaged, some with partial collapse. Reinforced masonry or concrete buildings damaged in some cases. A few instances of damage to buildings and bridges designed and built to resist earthquakes. Monuments and pre-1976 elevated tanks and factory stacks twisted or brought down. Some pre-1965 infill masonry panels damaged. A few post-1980 brick veneers damaged. Decayed timber piles of houses damaged. Houses not secured to foundations may move. Most unreinforced domestic chimneys damaged, some below roof-line, many brought down. Environment : Cracks appear on steep slopes and in wet ground. Small to moderate slides in roadside cuttings and unsupported excavations. Small water and sand ejections and localized lateral spreading adjacent to streams, canals, lakes, etc.
    MMI IX (Violent shaking) ?
    Structures Many low standard buildings destroyed. Ordinary workmanship buildings heavily damaged, some collapse. Reinforced masonry or concrete buildings damaged, some with partial collapse. Buildings and bridges designed and built to resist earthquakes damaged in some cases, some with flexible frames seriously damaged. Damage or permanent distortion to some buildings and bridges, designed and built to normal use standards. Houses not secured to foundations shifted off. Brick veneers fall and expose frames. Environment : Cracking of ground conspicuous. Landsliding general on steep slopes. Liquefaction effects intensified and more widespread, with large lateral spreading and flow sliding adjacent to streams, canals, lakes, etc.
    Tell us your experience and how many seconds the shaking lasted + let us know if your property has been damaged (even slight damage). (max. 500 characters)
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