A magnitude-3.2 earthquake centered in Beverly Hills shook much of Los Angeles' Westside early Monday morning, but no structural damage was reported.
The quake, described as a sharp jolt that awoke many people, struck just before 3:27 a.m. and was felt from Marina del Rey to Hollywood.
Though the quake was in the range that generally does not cause structural damage, Los Angeles firefighters at 106 stations across the city were checking their areas for problems. A fire department helicopter was also surveying the city. No damage was immediately reported.
Caltech seismologist Lucy Jones told KNX radio the quake was shallow, on a fault near the surface, and that quakes close to the surface are typically widely felt. Liquefaction, in which the soil is converted to a sort of quicksand-like slurry, typically doesn't happen until a long-duration quake reaches a magnitude-6 or so.
Jessica Turner of the U.S. Geological Survey in Golden, Colo., told KNX that the quake was part of Southern California's "normal seismicisty'' and that a magnitude-3.4 temblor struck in the same area Aug. 11.
Aftershocks should be expected, she said.
Brian Humphrey of the Los Angeles Fire Department suggested that, in a strong earthquake, people should take cover under a sturdy piece of furniture and cover his or her head. Running outside without shoes after a quake sometimes result in foot injuries.
After smaller jolts, people should be careful about opening cabinets in which objects such as glasses may have overturned and could fall out.