General News

Magnitude 4.6 earthquakes shakes storm-battered Los Angeles area – NBC News

An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 4.6 on Friday rocked a Los Angeles region that has been battered by a series of winter storms since last week.

The quake was centered about 7 miles northwest of Malibu, in mountainous terrain near Los Angeles County’s northern coastline, according to data from the U.S. Geological Survey.

It struck at 1:47 p.m. local time, the USGS said.

At least two aftershocks at preliminary magnitude 2.7 and 3.0 were recorded after the 4.6 earthquake, according to the USGS.

Los Angeles County Fire Department spokesperson Fred Fielding told NBC Los Angeles an earthquake of that magnitude is “only going to cause minor damage,” he said.

The Los Angeles Fire Department said on social media platform X that residents should check their residences and neighbors.

“After surveying your home for #quake damage and assuring no injuries, please check on your pets and at-risk neighbors, especially seniors living alone,” it said.

LAFD spokesperson Erik Scott told NBC Los Angeles that there has been “no significant damage” so far.

A Ventura County Fire Department X account said the department was “fully operational and reporting no injuries.”

The U.S. Tsunami Warning System said no wave threat was likely from the temblor.

Despite its mellow nature, the earthquake might have been felt by as many as 12 million people, Caltech geophysics researcher Allen Husker, citing USGS data, said on NBC Los Angeles.

A ShakeAlert went out to the cellphones of MyShake app users and other subscribers to the USGS-run system. The alerts warn residents about an earthquake before it reaches many users, giving some time to take cover. The system is still evolving and depends on the addition of seismometers. It is available to an estimated 50 million residents of California, Oregon, and Washington.

The area of the earthquake has numerous faults, including the Malibu Coast Fault, which runs from an area near Point Dume east toward the city of Santa Monica.

Lucy Jones, a former USGS seismologist who founded the Dr. Lucy Jones Center for Science and Society, said as time goes on the potential the quake was a foreshock to something bigger diminishes rapidly.

But she told NBC Los Angeles it’s a good time to remind Californians to be prepared for a bigger one. Her top recommendation is to have drinking and potable water on hand, because a major earthquake is likely to disrupt water supplies.

“The most important thing you can do is make sure you have water stored,” she said.

The region was battered by a trio of storms since last week, bringing historic amounts of rain and flooding to areas from Ventura County to the U.S.-Mexico border.

Friday’s temblor struck on a date that marks one of the region’s most damaging earthquakes, the 1971 magnitude 6.6 Sylmar earthquake, named for L.A.’s northernmost neighborhood. It was blamed for 64 deaths and more than $500 million in damage, the USGS said. 

Dennis Romero

Dennis Romero is a breaking news reporter for NBC News Digital. 

Michelle Acevedo