© Reuters / Gene Blevins
Broken bottles are seen on the floor after falling off the shelves at a CVS pharmacy, following a magnitude 5.1 earthquake in Fullerton, California March 29, 2014. (
The magnitude-5.1 earthquake that rattled Southern California on Friday was a 10-second reminder of a fault that seismologists believe can produce a catastrophic disaster.
The Puente Hills thrust fault is so dangerous because of its location, running from the suburbs of northern Orange County, though the San Gabriel Valley and under the skyscrapers of downtown Los Angeles before ending in Hollywood.
Experts say a major 7.5-magnitude earthquake on the fault could do more damage to the heart of Los Angeles than the dreaded Big One on the San Andreas fault, which is located on the outskirts of metropolitan Southern California.
The size of Friday's quake was considered moderate, but it packed a punch. Residents within 10 miles of the epicenter in La Habra reported toppled furniture, broken glass and fallen picture frames. Several water mains broke, and a rockslide in Carbon Canyon caused a car to overturn, leaving those inside with minor injuries.
Officials said more than a dozen homes were red-tagged because of possible structural damage.