5.1 earthquake rocks Southern California *

quake-shake-map-32914.jpgThe magnitude 5.1 earthquake at 9:09 p.m. was centered near the border of Los Angeles and Orange counties, between Brea and La Habra 21 miles southeast of the downtown Los Angeles Civic Center. There was a 3.6 magnitude quake in the same area about an hour earlier. There have also been 3.4 and 3.6 magnitude aftershocks since the main quake.

This was big enough to be felt beyond LA and Orange counties. I felt a perceptible but gentle swaying while sitting in a loud, crowded Mexican restaurant in downtown Palm Springs. Many people noticed but it's not like the restaurant stopped cold, as you see in big quakes near the epicenter.

It's the largest quake to be centered under the Los Angeles metropolitan area since Chino Hills in 2008, which went in the books as a 5.4. Update: USGS semismologist Lucy Jones, briefing the media tonight, says it appears the 20-year quiet period since the damaging Northridge quake on Jan. 17, 1994 is ending. There has been more local seismic activity of late.

There are scattered reports of power outages and light damage.

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