Small Quake Rattles L.A.

An earthquake measuring 3.7 on the Richter scale rattled parts of the Los Angeles area Sunday but caused no major damage or injuries, seismologists said.

The moderate quake struck just after 3 p.m. local time and was centered about two miles south of the beach community of Santa Monica, said Kate Hutton, a seismologist at the California Institute of Technology. The quake was felt in two sharp jolts lasting no more than 15 seconds.

The tremors were felt most intensely in the coastal towns from Malibu south to Venice, with some residents reporting plaster and light fixtures dropping from their ceilings, glasses falling from shelves, and pictures knocked off walls.

Water sloshed out of swimming pools, and car alarms were set off.

Firefighters were immediately dispatched to survey the area, but they reported no injuries or significant structural damage, said Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey.

``This quake was a little too small to cause much damage,'' Ms. Hutton said. Nevertheless, firefighters and police remained in an ``earthquake emergency mode'' in case of further problems.

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