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Local News

Santa Barbara-Goleta Area Quake Upgraded to 4.8

A 4.8-magnitude earthquake rattled the South Coast of Santa Barbara County Wednesday, but there were no immediate reports of damage or injury.

The temblor, which struck at 7:38 a.m., was centered in the ocean about 3 miles off the Isla Vista coast.

The quake struck suddenly and with a loud rumble, but lasted only a few seconds, followed by some mild swaying.

It initially was reported as 4.6 on the Richter scale, but later was upgraded to 4.8 by the U.S. Geological Survey.

The shaker was felt throughout the South Coast, and in some parts of the North County.

The quake had two 2.6-magnitude aftershocks Wednesday morning, said Jamie Steidl, an earth science professor and researcher for the Earth Research Institute at UCSB.

A third aftershock — 2.5 magnitude — was recorded at 12:05 p.m., and a fourth measuring 3.2 occurred at 8:20 p.m.

“It really is the perfect earthquake,” he said. “It’s big enough to rattle and remind people we live in earthquake country, but there was no damage or injuries.”

There’s a small chance the quake could lead to a larger one, he said. The epicenter of the Santa Barbara Channel quake was probably shallow, within five or 10 miles of the surface, he noted.

“It lasted for only 10 seconds, and the more violent shaking was about four seconds. After that were more rolling motions which go longer, which are typically not felt by everybody.”

Santa Barbara police and fire crews were sent out to survey their beat areas, but no damage or injuries were reported, said Sgt. Riley Harwood.

No injuries or damage were reported to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department, according to spokeswoman Kelly Hoover.

A facilities team from the Santa Barbara Unified School District was checking for any damage to school facilities.

At the Bacara Resort and Spa in western Goleta, the Santa Barbara County Partners in Education Student Awards Breakfast was under way when the earthquake hit, and attendees were briefly evacuated before the event resumed.

According to the U.S. Geological Study’s “Did You Feel It?” site, the strongest shaking was felt on the South Coast but some effects were felt as far away as Paso Robles, Bakersfield and Los Angeles.

“It was shaking strong enough to knock picture frames over at our house,” Steidl said.

A larger, 7-magnitude or more quake can cause landslides and block highways, making the South Coast only accessible by air or sea, he noted.

“Those events happen every couple hundred years, so that’s the reason the little ones are important; to make sure people have a plan and are prepared.”

Due to the experience of Italian seismologists, local scientists have definitely been embracing the duty to communicate risk, he said.

Six scientists and one government official were found guilty of manslaughter based on how they assessed and communicated risk before the 2009 L’Aquila earthquake that killed 309 people. There were many minor shocks before the big one hit, according to news reports.

For more information about emergency preparedness, click here.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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