Earth Day earthquake shakes Southern California

A 3.7 magnitude earthquake shook parts of Southern California a few minutes into Earth Day.

The quake struck at 12:03 am Wednesday, centered near View Park-Windsor Hills near Inglewood, on the Newport-Inglewood fault line. 

Many were afraid it was caused by fracking, a procedure to pump water into oil fields to extract oil but world-renowned local Seismologist Dr. Lucy Jones says this quake was too deep. “I am certain that this earthquake is not related to human activity because it occurred eight miles below the surface of the earth and all the oil field activity happens within the top mile or so,” says Dr. Jones. 

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She says an earthquake about this size occurs a couple of times a month in Southern California and a couple of times a year in Los Angeles. 

“My chandelier was moving so I thought I was dreaming,” says Jessica Opal from her home in Playa Del Rey, more than eight miles from the quake’s epicenter. “Things weren’t coming off the shelves or anything, but it was enough to make everything rattle,” added James Cheydleur. “I could hear everyone in apartments around me freaking out a little bit.” 

The timing also rattled social media. “You’re telling me the earthquake busted in mere minutes after it becoming earth day?? An icon,” Model Chrissy Teigen tweeted.

“Stay strong LA. We will rebuild,” writer Leon Langford joked with a picture of a lamp on its side.

Author of “The Big Ones, How Natural Disasters Have Shaped Us,” Dr. Jones says because earthquakes only affect a certain area, the current pandemic will have much larger consequences as a disaster affecting the world. “More than 40,000 Americans have already died in this.

The largest physical natural disaster killed about 4,000 people – a flood back in the 19thcentury – so we’ve already killed 10 times as many people as any previous physical disaster has ever done.”

Dr. Jones writes about disasters changing society for good and bad. She says they often bring about altruism but also fear that often turns into anger and blame and how we respond, she says is key. “I think this will be a year that changes American life forever but which way it goes is still to be determined.”

Perhaps an Earth Day rumble was a clear sign. “Maybe it’s the earth telling us it’s time we take care of it,” says Opal. 

Dr. Jones predicts people may feel aftershocks from the Earth Day earthquake for about 24 hours. She compares that to aftershocks from the 6.4 and 7.1 magnitude earthquakes in Ridgecrest last year on the 4th and 5th of July that people will still feel for a few more years. 

The earthquake did not cause any injuries or damage. But the shake is a good reminder to have an earthquake kit ready in the house and car for each member of the family.