A lull, `and there it goes again' // Shock jolts L.A. back to reality

  Haya El Nasser; Jonathan T. Lovitt


  USA Today


  Page 03A

  (Copyright 1994)


  LOS ANGELES - Just when life seemed to go back to normal, the earth shook.



  And again, southern California went through the debilitating ritual of cleaning up

  broken glass, checking for new cracks in homes and freeways, and calming

  rattled nerves after a 5.3 aftershock jolted the region.


  "We're getting tired of it," says Los Angeles native Nanette Taylor, who's staying

  in a hotel until her home, damaged in the Jan. 17 Northridge earthquake, is



  "We'd be happy if it would stop. You get lulled into a sense of security, and all

  of a sudden, SHAKE."


  When Taylor called home, painters reported that just-repaired cracks had



  No major damage or injuries were reported, but new cracks appeared on

  freeways and buildings. A rockslide also blocked a road in Malibu.


  Although the region has been hit by thousands of aftershocks, Sunday's temblor

  was the strongest since January.


  At least a half dozen aftershocks rolled through Sunday. Only one - a magnitude

  3.4 - caused noticeable shaking, said Heather Lovasz of California Tech.

  University in Pasadena.


  Nine weeks after the 6.7 Northridge quake killed 61 people, many had tried to

  regain a sense of normalcy. Fragile items salvaged from the quake and tucked

  away for safety were back out, dishes back in cabinets.


  "The reaction is `Damn it,' " says Mike Shaw, 45, of Woodland Hills, who saw

  belongings tumble out of cupboards Sunday. "How about a break?"


  Others were prepared.


  "I've been expecting it for weeks," says Josh Hait, 19, a graphics designer from

  Reseda. "Our pets were acting strange for the last few days. Actually, the other

  night I stayed up late rearranging all the dishes . . . so they wouldn't break. But

  it's still unnerving."


  Near the epicenter - just 1 mile from Panorama City - Fran Wildroudt, 50, was

  shopping for perfume with her daughter Judy, who's eight months' pregnant.


  "All the bottles started rattling and falling and people started running. I was

  worried she would get trampled," says the Los Angeles teacher. "Glass was

  breaking and everybody was starting to panic."


  Shoppers - visions of collapsed apartment buildings, parking structures and

  department stores fresh in their minds - rushed to their cars and caused a traffic



  Drywaller Jim Anthony was fixing a friend's collapsed wall when the aftershock

  hit. The reminder that a quake could once again damage everything didn't stop

  his work.


  "You could be waiting a long, long time," says Anthony, 47. "How long can we

  wait? Eventually you just have to fix this stuff."


  In Mark Netzen's Northridge home, the chimney that was displaced more than 4

  inches by the January quake is still cordoned off with yellow tape. "I didn't see

  anything new," says Netzen, 37, assessing the damage to the house. "We're

  lucky. We did all the breaking a couple of months ago."


  But inside, a few more things broke. "It's hard to get excited about it. It's just

  dishes and stuff. After January, it changes your perspective. I'm just glad to be



  At the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the aftershock briefly interrupted rehearsals

  for tonight's Academy Awards.


  The first presenter, actor Elijah Wood, was doing his introduction of the

  nominees for best visual effects. The winning envelope is supposed to be

  delivered by giant mechanical dinosaur a la Steven Spielberg's prehistoric epic

  Jurassic Park.


  So when the auditorium started to shake, many at first thought it was part of the



  At a pre-Oscar party, Terry George, nominee for best screenplay adaptation for

  In the Name of the Father, was being interviewed by Dublin-based New Decade



  "By the way, this is an earthquake," he said calmly.


  Then the shaking grew more violent. "Oh jeez," he muttered, jumping up and

  swigging from a bottle of beer. Contributing: Tom Green and Ann Oldenburg


  L.A. shakes: Just one more aftershock


  The earthquake that shook the Los Angeles area Sunday measured 5.3 on the

  Richter scale. It was just one of more than 6,000 aftershocks of the Jan. 17

  Northridge quake, a 6.8-level temblor. Sunday's quake is considered an

  aftershock because it occurred in the same underground stress zone as the

  Northridge quake, although that fault has yet to be determined.


  Main quake Jan. 17: 6.8 Aftershock Sunday: 5.3


  The top aftershocks Few aftershocks approach the magnitude of the main quake.

  Fifty measured 4.0 - 4.9, and just seven measured 5 or more.


  Jan. 17, 4:31 a.m. 5.9 Jan. 17, 3:33 p.m. 5.6 Jan. 17, 4:43 p.m. 5.2 Jan. 19, 1:09

  p.m. 5.1 Jan. 19, 1:11 p.m. 5.1 Jan. 29, 3:20 a.m. 5.1 March 20, 4:20 p.m. 5.3


  The Richter scale Each number represents a quake 10 times as strong as the next

  lower magnitude.


  1-3 Not felt. 3-3.9 Felt indoors, like a passing train. 4-4.9 Felt everywhere.

  Objects swing, dishes rattle. 5-5.9 Dishes, windows break 6-6.9 Hard to keep

  balance. Houses could collapse. 7 plus Substantial damage or destruction.

  GRAPHIC,b/w, USA TODAY ,Source:Thomas Heaton,U.S. Geological

  Survey(Map,Los Angeles,Map,CA fault lines); PHOTO,b/w,Thom Elder,AP