Big Bear Earthquake Shakes Southern California

Big Bear Mountain, as well as a large portion of Southern California, was shaking and quaking earlier this morning.

The United States Geological Survey announced today that a 4.6 magnitude earthquake shook the mountain community at 9:59 am PST this morning. Reports have the temblor being felt as far south as Mexico, and as far east as Palm Springs. Another earthquake, a 3.4, was recorded one moment later, but was not deemed an aftershock to the original earthquake. Approximately fifteen aftershocks have been reported, the largest of those being a 2.7 on the Richter scale at 10:10 am PST, according to the NBC Los Angeles website.

The first temblor was originally recorded at 4.8, but was soon downgraded to 4.6. Many consider this magnitude of earthquake a "small" or "soft" earthquake, especially since no damage to buildings was reported.

No damage has been reported as of this time. The epicenter was between Big Bear City and Lake Arrowhead.

Fifteen minutes after the quake, the California Highway Patrol closed the road at a section called "The Arctic Circle," a landslide-prone section of road perched both above and below steep, vertical cliffs. It is one of three road accesses to Big Bear. Six cars were stranded on State Highway 18 between Big Bear Dam and Snow Valley because of rockslides. Snowplows were called in from Big Bear City to assist with moving the landslide's debris off of the highway.

People in Big Bear City told KNX radio that docks were bobbing up and down in the lake, and that buildings shook and creaked. One reporter said many people initially thought it was another lightning strike, from the overnight thunderstorms, according to ABC 10. The shallow quake struck at a depth of 5.4 miles. In the last 10 days, there have been no earthquakes magnitude 3.0 and greater centered nearby, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The Victorville Daily Press claims local residents reported hearing a loud rumble before the shaking began. Apple Valley resident Cliff Holman said he was in the perfect position for the whole quake and said there were three distinct stages. "I was kind of perched on the end of my favorite chair and... first, there was the noise, I thought it was like my neighbor opening his metal garage door, and I wondered if it was an earthquake or just noise," said Holman. "Then it was the regular shaking, and then a rolling for a few seconds. It was kind of neat."