Moderate Earthquake Shakes Los Angeles
Map of earthquake location and shaking intensity today (Mar. 17, 2014) in Los Angeles.
Credit: USGS

An earthquake of preliminary magnitude 4.4 struck this morning in Los Angeles, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

Shaking was felt across the region as far south as Riverside and as far north as San Clemente, Calif. There were no immediate reports of damage, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The earthquake's epicenter was 2 miles (3 kilometers) north of Sherman Oaks, Calif. The quake was centered 6 miles (10 km) from Beverly Hills, 7 miles (11 km) from Universal City and 7 miles (11 km) from Santa Monica, according to the USGS.

It originated 5 miles (8 km) deep and struck at 6:25 a.m. local time (13:25 p.m. UTC) Monday (March 17), according to the USGS. Preliminary information suggests it was on a strike-slip fault, where two blocks on either side of a fault move horizontally past one another.

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.

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.