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Laguna Beach

 Volume 12, Issue 55  |  July 10, 2020

Dennis’ Tidbits 


June 26, 2020

Stirred but not shaken by Wednesday quake

Dennis 5If you felt a bit of movement in the earth here on Wednesday afternoon, no, it wasn’t that cocktail you had, rather it was from a 5.8 shaker way up in Lone Pine, over 200 miles to our NNE. The quake was quite shallow at 12 miles, so that’s why the shaking was felt over a wide radius. A 4.6 foreshock was felt hours earlier. The shaking here in town was barely noticeable; you had to be sitting still or lounging to feel it.

Fortunately, in recent years Laguna hasn’t endured heavy shaking. Stronger quakes have occurred in places that are quite a distance from town, so by the time primary and secondary waves hit us, shaking has been generally light to moderate. Nearly all the stronger quakes over the past 50 years have been far away enough to spare us the main jolt. There was one shaker, however, that was close to home, and that was the 4.6 that hit at 1 p.m. on April 6, 1989. The epicenter was under Fashion Island, just a few miles up the road, and it shook pretty good for a magnitude 4.6. Its proximity and shallowness made the quake seem more like a 5.6 than a 4.6.

Over the past 50 years or so, the strongest shaking that I have felt here in town was from several events that I have documented. Most of them have woken me up, as a great percentage of them occurred between midnight and 8 a.m. for some odd reason. Earthquakes don’t really operate on a time schedule but it almost seems like they do just to happen in the middle of the night to wake people up and tick them off! 

For example, the Sylmar Quake on February 9, 1971 struck at precisely 6 a.m., registering 6.6, and that sucker shook me out of bed and lasted at least one minute. Then on July 9, 1986 at 2:24 a.m., a 6.0 rattled everybody’s nerves from L.A. to San Diego. It was centered near Palm Springs at a place called Windy Point, part of the San Jacinto Fault. Five days later at 7 a.m., on Sunday, July 14, a nerve-rattling 5.4 struck just off Oceanside, knocking out the big plate glass window in the front of Fingerhut Gallery on the corner of PCH and Forest Avenue. So much for sleeping in on Sunday morning. 

The next year at 7:59 a.m. on October 1, 1987, a 6.0 struck near Whittier Narrows, taking out a bunch of old historic buildings in uptown Whittier. That one was really felt here in town as it was less than 50 miles up the road. At 4:59 a.m. on June 28, 1992, a 7.5 hit Landers, way out past Joshua Tree, scaring the daylights out of McWeather. Only three hours later a real shaker hit under Big Bear Lake with a magnitude of 6.6 at 7:59 a.m. Oh well, I guess I didn’t want to sleep in anyway! 

Next in line was a 6.7 that struck Northridge at 4:22 a.m. on Martin Luther King Jr. Day on January 17, 1994. Time to get up early once again! At 2:15 a.m. on October 15, 1999, a 7.2 struck way out in the desert near a town called Boron. That one was way deep at 60 miles, creating more of a rolling sensation rather than shaking. How dare these quakes have the audacity to wake people up out of a deep slumber! Almost seems like a conspiracy of sorts, don’t it? Have a great first weekend of summer, folks. 

See y’all next Tuesday, ALOHA!


Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor & Writer.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut is our Chief Photographer.

Alexis Amaradio, Barbara Diamond, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Marrie Stone, Maggi Henrikson, Samantha Washer, and Suzie Harrison are our writers and/or columnists. Scott Brashier is our photographer.

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