Earthquake Shakes Southern California
Map of earthquake location today (March 11, 2013) in Southern California.
Credit: USGS.

An earthquake of preliminary magnitude 4.6 struck today in southern California, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

The temblor's epicenter was 12 miles (20 km) east-southeast of Anza, Calif., and 17 miles (27 km) south of Rancho Mirage, Calif. It originated 0.1 miles (0.1 km) deep and struck at 9:56 a.m. local time (1656 UTC), the USGS reports.

Residents reported feeling light shaking across the region, from San Diego to Los Angeles, according to the USGS.

Earthquakes of this size tend to be felt by people in the area but typically do not cause significant damage, other than possibly broken windows and falling dishes or the toppling of unstable objects. But the damage caused by any single event depends on the quake's depth, proximity to populated areas, building standards in the region, as well as the type of earthquake. The USGS frequently updates the magnitude of an event after more data is analyzed.

An earthquake's magnitude is a measure of the energy released at the source. It is just one predictor of the shaking that may ensue, which is affected by local and regional geology. Scientists know in a general sense what causes Earthquakes but are unable to predict specific quakes.

This article will be updated if significant additional information becomes available. Find more earthquake news here.