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SoCal Shaken By Second Strong Quake In Six Days

July 14, 1986

OCEANSIDE, Calif. (AP) _ The second moderate earthquake in six days shook Southern California from the Pacific Ocean to the Arizona border Sunday, breaking windows, triggering rock slides and scaring not only humans but also animals at the San Diego Zoo.

One person died of a heart attack, and 14 others suffered minor injuries, authorities said. Early damage estimates were at least $500,000.

″I was really scared. Our bed started shaking violently, drawers started swinging open,″ said Miriam Shuster, a guest who ran out of the Hotel Laguna as the temblor and aftershocks shook Laguna Beach.

″I heard this big boom, like a sonic boom,″ said Gloria Butler, who was getting ready for work. ″This was a definite rolling.″

The temblor struck at 6:46 a.m., shaking people awake along a 150-mile stretch of coastline from San Diego to Oxnard, northwest of Los Angeles.

Impalas, giraffes, gazelles, antelopes and other hoof stock at the San Diego Zoo were brought to their feet by the shaking, said Mike Ahlering, zoo operations manager.

″The elephants were marching around with their ears out trying to figure out what’s going on,″ he said. ″The zebras were running back and forth in front of their exhibit.″

The quake measured 5.3 on the Richter scale at the California Institute of Technology and was centered offshore 28 miles southwest of Oceanside, a northern San Diego County community 75 miles southeast of Los Angeles, said Caltech spokesman Dennis Meredith.

Nine aftershocks measuring more than 3.0 were recorded near the epicenter of the quake, Meredith said, the highest registering 4.5 on the Richter scale preceded by one at 4.0. The others ranged from 3.4 to 3.8, he said, adding that more than an hour before the big quake.

The Scripps Institute of Oceanography in La Jolla called it the largest recorded quake in modern history in the immediate area offshore of the San Diego metropolitan area, said spokeswoman Jackie Parker. The previous record was 4.3, recorded July 7, 1984.

Authorities estimated non-structural damages at $500,000, said Lois Clark McCoy, San Diego County Disaster Preparedness officer.

″We have no reports of structural damage as yet, but we anticipate that that will change when people go to their work places tomorrow,″ she said.

″It was frightening. The bed was shaking. ... Books flew off the shelves,″ said Perrin Lim of Del Mar.

At least one power line fell in Oceanside, caused a small power failure, said police Sgt. Dave Jones. ″We’ve had a lot of phone calls from around the city. A lot of burglar alarms going off.″

The San Onofre nuclear power plant, midway between San Diego and Los Angeles, was put on ″unusual event″ status - the lowest of four levels of emergency response - for about an hour while it was checked for damage. Charles Beal, a spokeman for Southern California Edison, said no damage was found and that the status was normal procedure after an earthquake.

In Laguna Beach, 45 miles southeast of Los Angeles, there were reports of broken windows, broken walls and rocks that tumbled to Laguna Canyon Road, said Police Department clerk Anita Fisher.

Pat Allen, a spokeswoman at the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, said there were many rock slides in the eastern part of the county. But Dan Eberle, director of the Office of Disaster Preparedness, said there were no immediate reports of significant damage.

At a Point Loma Safeway grocery store, about two miles east of the coast in San Diego, products fell off shelves. ″As soon as the stuff started hitting the floor, we got outside,″ said clerk Randy Edwards.

Last Tuesday, a quake that struck 12 miles northwest of Palm Springs measured 5.9 on the Richter scale. It did an estimated $5.75 million damage and injured 40 people. Numerous aftershocks, some measuring as high as 4.0 on the Richter scale, rumbled through the area.

″We do not believe that the two earthquakes are related in any way,″ said Russ Needham, a geophysicist at the National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colo. ’But these are the largest we’ve had closest together in quite awhile. We record earthquakes every day (in California), but most of them are smaller.″

Meredith said the two quakes occurred on different faults.

The heart attack victim was 55-year-old Arless Wilson of Chula Vista.

″She was awake during the quake, walking around. She suffered a cardiac arrest during the earthquake,″ said a nursing supervisor at Chula Vista Community Hospital who declined to give her name.

The quake was felt as far away as Yuma, Ariz., 120 miles east of San Diego, said police dispatcher Billie Woods. No damage was reported there.

The Richter scale is a measure of ground motion as recorded on seismographs. Every increase of one number means a tenfold increase in the strength of the shaking. Thus, a reading of 7.5 reflects an earthquake 10 times stronger than one of 6.5.

An earthquake of 4 on the Richter scale can cause moderate damage in the local area, 5 considerable damage, and 6 severe damage. The San Francisco earthquake of 1906, which occurred before the scale was devised, has been estimated at 8.3 on the scale.

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