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5.1 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Los Angeles

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A shallow 5.1-magnitude earthquake has rocked the Los Angeles area, the US Geological Survey says, causing some minor damage and stopping rides at Disneyland.

Emergency services said they had calls about gas leaks and water main breaks, while some residents said objects fell from walls and shelves, but there were no immediate reports of injuries.

Disneyland shut down rides as a precaution, according to NBC4 television, while Twitter users reported that some people left the park. A spokesman could did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The quake’s epicenter was near La Hambra, about 45 km southeast of downtown Los Angeles, and could be felt across the LA metropolitan area, including in Hollywood.

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Car alarms were reported to have been set off in some areas by the five-mile-deep quake, which was initially registered as 5.3 magnitude but later revised down.

The quake, which was preceded and followed by a number of smaller ones, came after a 4.4-magnitude earthquake jolted Angelenos out of bed on March 17.

Friday’s quake was felt in Los Angeles as a lower rumbling, which lasted up to half a minute, rather than a sharp jolt.

The LA County Fire Department received some reports of gas leaks and scattered damage, said spokesman Ed Pickett, while police in Fullerton, about fives miles from La Habra, reported several water main breaks, spokesman Jeff Stuart told KCAL 9 television.

A rock slide took place in Carbon Canyon, about six miles from La Habra, the Los Angeles Times reported.

California has long braced for the “Big One.”

The western US state is on the so-called Ring of Fire, which circles the Pacific and has produced a number of devastating quakes including Japan’s March 2011 quake-tsunami, which killed thousands of people.

Seismologists say a quake capable of causing widespread destruction is 99 per cent certain to hit California in the next 30 years.

A 6.7-magnitude earthquake in Los Angeles left at least 60 people dead and did an estimated $US10 billion ($10.8 billion) damage in 1994, while a 6.9 quake in San Francisco in 1989 claimed the lives of 67 people.

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