Minor Earthquake Shakes Central California

earthquake map
Map of earthquake location today (July 24, 2013) in Central California. (Image credit: USGS.)

An earthquake of preliminary magnitude 4.3 struck today in central California, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

The temblor's epicenter was 12 miles (19 km) south of Weldon, Calif., a town about an hour's drive east of Bakersfield. The quake originated 1.9 miles (3 km) deep and struck at 9:46 a.m. local time (1646 UTC), the USGS reports. Weak to light shaking was reported in the region.

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.

Megan Gannon
Live Science Contributor
Megan has been writing for Live Science and Space.com since 2012. Her interests range from archaeology to space exploration, and she has a bachelor's degree in English and art history from New York University. Megan spent two years as a reporter on the national desk at NewsCore. She has watched dinosaur auctions, witnessed rocket launches, licked ancient pottery sherds in Cyprus and flown in zero gravity. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.