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Weather Nerd

Moderate earthquake strikes L.A.

July 29th, 2008 - 12:40 pm

This isn’t technically a “weather” story, but I figured I’d mention quickly that a 5.4 earthquake struck the Los Angeles area this morning, about an hour ago. It has been downgraded from an initial estimate of 5.8 magnitude, which, because the magnitude scale is logarithmic, is actually a big deal. You’d expect significantly more damage from a 5.8 quake than from a 5.4.

The epicenter was near Chino Hills. It happened at 2:42 PM EDT, or 11:42 AM local time.

Various TV stations in L.A. are streaming live coverage over the Internet: CBS 2, ABC 7 and Fox 11. Thankfully, it sounds like there wasn’t much damage.

According to CBS 2, there’s a “1 in 20 chance” that this morning’s tremor (or “temblor,” as they say out west) was a “foreshock” of a larger quake coming. (That’s a general historical figure, not a forecast based on the specifics of this quake.) More likely, the worst is over, and there will just continue to be minor aftershocks.

Meanwhile, a fun little side note. I checked Google Blog Search a while ago, searching for the word “earthquake,” and clicked back multiple pages to find out who scooped the entire blogosphere and posted something about the quake first. The apparent winner is Flying Cats — a personal blog run by a Long Beach, California grad student who goes by the nickname “Kate the Cat Herder.” That said, on closer inspection, I notice the post says it went up at 11:39 AM, which would be three minutes before the quake. Heh. I don’t know if that’s just because Blogspot’s clock is slow, or if it’s possible to “game” the timestamps that Google Blog Search sees… hmm…

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