Minor quake reminder of Westside’s vulnerability
By Staff Writer
A magnitude 3.7 earthquake occurred early Friday morning with many Westside residents feeling the tremors.
According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the 3.7 magnitude earthquake took place at 12:19 a.m. with the epicenter in Compton.
While the earthquake was not large enough to cause damage, it is an important reminder of the fact that Brentwood and much of the Westside of Los Angeles sits on a fault line.
While Los Angeles residents have known for generations the risks associated with the San Andres Fault, there is a lesser-known fault line that could wreak havoc: the Santa Monica Fault Line. This line cuts through the heart of the Westside, with sections running through Century City, Westwood, Brentwood, Santa Monica and Pacific Palisades. According to Margaret Vinci of the Caltech Seismological Laboratory, the Santa Monica Fault is capable of a 6.6 magnitude earthquake, an event that would bring severe damage to the Brentwood.
“When that fault has a rupture, it can heavily damage this area,” Vinci said at a Brentwood Community Council meeting earlier this year. “We have dodged a bullet in the last 30 years.”
After earthquakes of 6.4 and 7.1 magnitudes struck Ridgecrest in July, the City of Los Angeles’s Emergency Management Department (EMD) released renewed guidelines for earthquake preparedness. Before an earthquake strikes, the EMD urges residents to make a disaster plan, make an earthquake kit, and prepare with their communities.
In December 2018, LA teamed up with the United States Geological Survey, AT&T and The Annenberg Foundation to release the ShakeAlertLA app. ShakeAlertLA is designed to send users a warning before they feel the shaking of an earthquake — the efficacy, however, depends on users’ distance to the epicenter of the quake. Users who are farther from the epicenter will get more advanced warning than users closer to the epicenter. The app detects magnitude 5 or greater earthquakes and warns users in areas where the predicted intensity will be 4 or greater.