The long, rolling sensation started in Santa Barbara around 11:44 a.m., causing many to question their balance and wonder whether their chairs were independently tipping to and fro. And then that California sensitivity kicked in, and we realized what we were feeling: another earthquake, this one a 5.8 with an epicenter to the southeast, near Chino Hills, with reports of shaking as far away as Las Vegas.
For those who’ve experienced them before, the July 29 movement, which lasted 10 seconds or so, was a bit slower rolling than the usual quake, “like a groundswell,” explained one observer. That usually means it’s far away, but how far and how strong at its epicenter are the next questions. Luckily, although those around the Chino Hills surely felt the 5.8 quite strongly, that strength usually doesn’t result in any widespread disaster, at least in relatively prepared Southern California.
California’s most recent big ones that caused wide-scale destruction were the 6.4 Northridge quake of 1994 and the 6.9 Loma Prieta rumbler that hit the Bay Area in 1989. The 6.5 quake that hit Paso Robles and killed two people in December 2003 was also quite destructive and felt by many in Santa Barbara.
For those who haven’t experienced them before, it was something to behold. “I’m a little bit more Californian now,” laughed Indy reporter Ethan Stewart, a Cape Cod native who’s lived in the Golden State for nearly 10 years, but has always been away during quakes.
For more info, see this USGS website.