Shock jolts L.A. back to reality // Temblor strongest since January
Haya El Nasser; Jonathan T. Lovitt
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
repaired. "We'd be happy if it would stop. You get lulled into a sense of security,
and all of a sudden, SHAKE."
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 six aftershocks rolled through Sunday. Only one, a magnitude 3.4,
caused noticeable shaking, said Heather Lovasz of California Tech University in
Nine weeks after the 6.8 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?"
"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, 23, 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.
Shoppers - visions of collapsed apartment buildings, parking structures and
department stores fresh in their minds - rushed to their cars and caused a traffic
"I'm from Texas, and when you hear a rumbling like that it's a train going by,"
said Paul Begala, an adviser to President Clinton, whose room at the Peninsula
Hotel in Beverly Hills suffered a damaged marble credenza and broken vases.
Begala said he and Democratic political strategist James Carville "stood in front
of the (credenza) and took pictures. . . . We posed like tourists, like it was the La
Brea Tar Pits."
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
"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.
More dishes broke Sunday, but Netzen, 37, wasn't upset. "After January, it
changes your perspective. I'm just glad to be alive."
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
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, 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
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