Los Angeles hit by 4.4 magnitude earthquake

Monday 17 March 2014 16.37
The quake was centred 10km northwest of Beverly Hills
The quake was centred 10km northwest of Beverly Hills

The city of Los Angeles was hit by a 4.4 magnitude earthquake this morning, but there were no immediate reports of casualties.

Residents of the Hollywood neighbourhood said they were shaken by the quake, which lasted just a few seconds. Burglar alarms went off but there did not appear to be any damage in the area.

The earthquake was initially estimated as a 4.7 magnitude by the US Geological Survey, but later downgraded to 4.4.

The earthquake was centred 10km northwest of Beverly Hills and struck at 6.25am local time.

It came a week after a powerful 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of northern California, the biggest in years.

The western 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.

Geologists say an earthquake capable of causing widespread destruction is 99% certain of hitting California in the next 30 years.

A 6.7-magnitude earthquake in Los Angeles left at least 60 people dead and caused an estimated €7.2bn worth of damage in 1994, while a 6.9 quake in San Francisco in 1989 claimed the lives of 67 people.