Despite the juggling of multiple emergencies in California, including rare tropical storms and wildfires, a 5.1-magnitude earthquake centered near Ojai caused swaying that captured the attention of residents, especially in Los Angeles, located 60 miles southeast of the epicenter. While this earthquake was unlikely to have caused significant damage, it still prompted concern due to its perceptible impact.
Jana Pursley, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey, explained that the Ojai earthquake was more substantial than a typical 3.5-magnitude quake, potentially resulting in minor cracks in walls. Although it was felt across Santa Barbara County, just 15 miles away from Ojai, there have been no damage reports so far, according to Jackie Ruiz, a public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management.
Ruiz emphasized the challenges faced by local officials on this eventful day. With tropical storm rains anticipated to peak between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. and a northern county fire still burning from the previous day, the situation demanded their full attention.
Comparatively, Sunday’s earthquake was moderate when compared to past California earthquakes that led to extensive destruction. For instance, the 1994 Northridge earthquake, measuring 6.7 magnitude, released 125 times more energy than the Ojai quake. Similarly, the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, responsible for over 60 deaths in the San Francisco Bay Area, was 253 times more powerful than the recent Ojai earthquake.