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Magnitude 4.6 earthquake rattles Southern California

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(KTLA) – An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 4.6 rattled the Los Angeles area Friday afternoon, shaking buildings and rattling the nerves of millions of people across Southern California.

The quake, which struck at 1:47 p.m., was centered roughly 6 miles west of Malibu in the Santa Monica Mountains at a depth of five and a half miles, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

A USGS shockwave map shows the quake was felt across much of Southern California, including Ventura, Riverside, Orange, and Santa Barbara counties.

The Los Angeles Fire Department activated its Earthquake Mode, which involves crews from all 106 fire stations surveying critical infrastructure, including freeway overpasses, apartment buildings, dams, power lines and large areas of assembly, such as Dodger Stadium.

The process is typically completed within an hour, LAFD said.

4.6 Quake Map
A USGS map showing the area impacted by the magnitude 4.6 earthquake on Feb. 9, 2024.

There were no immediate reports of significant damage, and no tsunami warning was triggered.

The 4.6 temblor was followed by a series of aftershocks registering 3.0 in magnitude or less.

Longtime Malibu resident Ted Vail described what he felt. 

“Back-and-forth, back-and-forth,” he told KTLA. “I was about ready to head outside to get out of the house because I thought things were going to start crashing down.”

Dr. Lucy Jones, California’s leading seismologist and earthquake expert, warned that the 4.6 quake could be a precursor for a stronger one.

Quake and aftershocks
A map from KTLA’s live coverage showing the 4.6 quake and immediate aftershocks. Feb. 9, 2024. (KTLA)

“Every earthquake in California has about a 5% chance of being followed by something bigger within the next couple of days, and so there is the possibility -very low- that we could have a bigger event here,” Jones said during a live media briefing. “If we were to have a bigger earthquake, you should drop, cover, and hold on.”

This is a developing story.

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