The quake jolted dozens of fans queuing outside the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, in the downtown area, where the 66th Academy Awards are to be staged tonight before a worldwide television audience estimated at 1 billion.
Cinemas, shopping malls and restaurants were evacuated, and customers spilled on to the streets as the quake rattled across southern California, reviving memories of 17 January, when 61 people died. However, only minor damage was reported.
The California Institute of Technology said the aftershock was an estimated 5.3 on the Richter scale. The epicentre was in the San Fernando Valley, north-west of Los Angeles - a few miles from the epicentre of January's quake.
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