Orange County quake gives scientists more data on active faults

Courtesy USGS

A 3.9 quake was recorded about a mile from San Juan Capistrano around 10:37 a.m. Many people in Orange County said they felt a huge jolt.

Orange County officials said there was no damage or injuries from a magnitude 3.9 earthquake Monday which shook parts of Orange County.

The U.S. Geological Survey said central and southern Orange County were rattled by the quake at 10:37 a.m. about one-mile west of San Juan Capistrano.

People throughout central and southern Orange County reported feeling the quake.

At historic Mission San Juan Capistrano, whose Great Stone Church was destroyed by a deadly earthquake in 1812, employees were dispatched to inspect exhibits but there were no immediate signs of damage.

“Not even a painting has fallen off a wall,'' said Mechelle Lawrence-Adams, the mission's executive director.

Southern California Edison said the quake did not affect the San Onofre nuclear power plant, which remains shutdown due to problems with steam tubes.

People in buildings in Santa Ana and in homes said the quake felt like a violent, strong jolt.

UC Irvine earthquake expert Lisa Grant Ludwig said it was the strongest she’s felt in her 20 years in Irvine.

She said the quake will provide insight into the region’s faults and what size earthquakes may be possible in the future.

“And when we have these smaller earthquakes like this it really does provide valuable information," said Ludwig. "Because this earthquake occurred on a fault and we be able to look at it more carefully, tie it into the regional system that will increase our understanding.”

The jolt served as a welcome back to Irvine for Ludwig, who last week attended the annual meeting of the Seismological Society of America in San Diego.

"The quake is a reminder to us all that we live in earthquake country," she said.

Ludwig, also a professor of public health, said the quake serves as a wake-up call for people to keep emergency supplies on hand, including potable water and fire extinguishers.

"Particularly in urban areas, earthquakes are often followed by fire," said Ludwig.

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