LA Quake 1
A magnitude 4.7 earthquake struck about 3 miles east of Los Angeles International airport at 8:39 p.m. (PDT) local time, at a depth of 8.5 miles. Given that the location is in a densely populated part of the Los Angeles basin, it was widely felt.

Initial estimates from the USGS ShakeMap indicate that although strong shaking will have been felt by many people, damage is expected to be light.

The initial focal mechanism is consistent with slip on the Newport-Inglewood fault, which was the source of the damaging 1933 Long Beach earthquake. Three of the early aftershocks, however, are west of the Newport-Inglewood fault trend.

Later aftershocks are expected to help define the fault plane that ruptured. The Los Angeles basin is crossed from northwest to southeast by the intensively studied Newport-Inglewood fault zone. In 1920, the Inglewood earthquake (M 4.9) occurred in nearly the identical location to this evening's earthquake.

The 1920 event was the original reason for identification of this as an active fault zone capable of damaging earthquakes, which then later proved to be the case in the 1933 Long Beach event. After the 1933 event, the name of the fault zone was changed to the Newport-Inglewood fault zone in recognition that it is continuous from Beverly Hills to Newport Beach.

LA Quake 2
© USGSWaveform graph
Earthquake Magnitude:

- Monday, May 18, 2009 at 03:39:36 UTC
- Sunday, May 17, 2009 at 08:39:36 PM at epicenter

33.937°N, 118.345°W

15.1 km (9.4 miles)


- 1 km (1 miles) ESE (107°) from Lennox, CA
- 2 km (1 miles) N (8°) from Hawthorne, CA
- 2 km (1 miles) S (178°) from Inglewood, CA
- 6 km (4 miles) ENE (73°) from El Segundo, CA
- 16 km (10 miles) SW (215°) from Los Angeles Civic Center, CA

The plot to the right shows a set of SCSN stations scattered throughout southern California over a 120-second time period. Traces are time aligned and sorted by distance from the epicenter. Green bars represent expected P and S arrival times.