- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 29, 2008

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Scattered minor damage and a few minor injuries have been reported in the aftermath of an earthquake that was strongly felt across Southern California.

The magnitude-5.4 jolt struck at 11:42 a.m. Tuesday and was felt from Los Angeles south to San Diego and as far east as Las Vegas. The quake, considered moderate, was centered 29 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles near the city of Chino Hills.

The state Office of Emergency Services in Sacramento reported scattered minor infrastructure damage, including broken water mains and gas lines. Freeway traffic appeared normal.

Acting Los Angeles Mayor Wendy Greuel said that minor structural damage had been reported throughout Los Angeles, along with five minor injuries and people stuck in elevators.

Workers quickly evacuated some office buildings.

“It was dramatic. The whole building moved and it lasted for a while,” said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore, who was in the sheriff’s suburban Monterey Park headquarters east of Los Angeles.

The 1994 Northridge earthquake under the Los Angeles area’s San Fernando Valley was magnitude 6.7. It killed 72 people, injured more than 9,000 and caused $25 billion in damage in the area.

The damage created by an earthquake depends greatly on where it hits. A 7.1 quake — much stronger than Northridge — hit the Mojave Desert in 1999 but caused only a few injuries and no deaths.

California is one of the world’s most seismically active regions. More than 300 faults crisscross the state, which sits atop two of Earth’s major tectonic plates, the Pacific and North American plates. About 10,000 quakes each year rattle Southern California alone, although most of them are too small to be felt.

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