Magnitude 4.5 earthquake shakes southern Californians awake

The magnitude-4.5 earthquake occurred early Wednesday and was centered 2 miles north of Banning, about 85 miles east of Los Angeles.

US Geological Survey
The U.S. Geological Survey says the magnitude-4.5 jolt occurred at 6:42 a.m. Wednesday and was centered 2 miles north of Banning, about 85 miles east of Los Angeles.

A small earthquake gave an early morning wake-up call to the inland region of Southern California.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the magnitude-4.5 jolt occurred at 6:42 a.m. Wednesday and was centered 2 miles north of Banning, about 85 miles east of Los Angeles. The depth of the quake was 10 miles below the surface. 

The Riverside County Fire Department received no reports of problems from the quake.

USGS seismologist Lucy Jones says the area has a history of many quakes in the magnitude-4 range.

Banning is a small city along Interstate 10 in the San Gorgonio Pass between the San Bernardino and San Jacinto mountain ranges.

“We still call it small,” USGS seismologist Lucy Jones told The Los Angeles Times. “For those close to the quake it feels very strong, but there’s nothing in California that should be damaged at that level.”

It was the largest quake in the area since 1992 and was related to the San Andreas fault system, Jones said.

The San Andreas Fault is a place where two tectonic plates touch, the North American and Pacific Plates. The plates are rigid (or almost rigid) slabs of rock that comprise the crust and upper mantle of the Earth. The fault is about 700 miles long as the crow flies and about 800 miles long when its curves are measured. It is roughly ten miles deep, and reaches in the south from the Salton Sea in Imperial county to northern California's Cape Mendocino in Humboldt county, according SanAndreasFault.org

The San Andreas Fault is a "right lateral transform fault." This means that if two people face each other across the fault and it moves, each person will see the other person move to the right.

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