California hit by 4.4 magnitude earthquake

The 4.4 magnitude tremour was felt strongly near Los Angeles

Californians from the San Fernando Valley to Long Beach were rattled in the early hours of Monday morning, when a 4.4 magnitude earthquake hit the US state.

The quake struck at 6:25am, and centred 15 miles (24 kilometers) west-northwest of downtown Los Angeles, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said.

It occurred at a depth of about 5 miles (8 kilometers), and was initially estimated as hitting at 4.7 on the Richter scale before being downgraded.

Los Angeles police and fire officials said there were no immediate reports of any damage.

Last Sunday, the USGS warned Californians that the aftershock from a 6.9 earthquake under-sea earthquake was likely to be felt seven days later, but it has not been confirmed yet whether the earthquakes were linked.

“It felt like a bomb going off underneath our house,” said George McQuade, a West Hills resident. “Nothing was damaged, but it sure woke everyone up. It was an eye-opener."

Dr Lucy Jones of the USGS told the local CBS broadcaster there was a 5% chance another strong quake would strike within the next three days.

Earthquakes are common in the US state, but the majority are not life threatening. The 6.7 magnitude earthquake that hit Northridge in1994 was particularly serious, and left 60 people dead.

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