Magnitude 4.6 earthquake rattles Southern California

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 4.6 rattled the Los Angeles area Friday afternoon, shaking buildings and rattling the nerves of millions of people across Southern California.

The quake, which struck at 1:47 p.m., was centered roughly 6 miles west of Malibu in the Santa Monica Mountains at a depth of five and a half miles, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

A USGS shockwave map shows the quake’s intensity was felt across much of Southern California, including Ventura, Riverside, Orange, and Santa Barbara counties.

The Los Angeles Fire Department activated its Earthquake Mode, which involves crews from all 106 fire stations surveying critical infrastructure, including freeway overpasses, apartment buildings, dams, power lines, and large areas of assembly, such as Dodger Stadium. The process was completed around 3:30 p.m. with no reports of any significant damage.

No injuries were reported, and the quake did not trigger a tsunami warning, the National Weather Service said.

The 4.6 temblor was followed by a series of aftershocks registering 3.0 in magnitude or less.

“Back-and-forth, back-and-forth,” Longtime Malibu resident Ted Vail described the rumbling on KTLA 5 News. “I was about ready to head outside to get out of the house because I thought things were going to start crashing down.”

A USGS map showing the area impacted by the magnitude 4.6 earthquake on Feb. 9, 2024.

Dr. Lucy Jones, California’s leading seismologist, warned that the 4.6 quake could be a precursor for a stronger one.

“Every earthquake in California has about a 5% chance of being followed by something bigger within the next couple of days, and so there is the possibility -very low- that we could have a bigger event here,” Jones said during a live media briefing. “If we were to have a bigger earthquake, you should drop, cover, and hold on.”

Friday’s quake occurred exactly 53 years to the day of a catastrophic 6.6 magnitude quake that struck Sylmar, California, in L.A’s San Fernando Valley, killing 64 people.

A map from KTLA’s live coverage shows the 4.6 quake and immediate aftershocks. Feb. 9, 2024. (KTLA)

Thousands of earthquakes are recorded in California each year, but the vast majority are extremely minor. Only several hundred are greater than magnitude 3.0, and only about 15 to 20 are greater than magnitude 4.0, according to the USGS

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.