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Earthquake: 2.6 quake strikes near Brentwood

A shallow magnitude 2.6 earthquake was reported Tuesday morning in Brentwood, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The temblor occurred at 8:45 a.m. PDT at a depth of 5 miles.

According to the USGS, the epicenter was five miles from Beverly Hills, six miles from Santa Monica, and seven miles from West Hollywood. The epicenter is on Canyonback Trail, north of the George H. Lutz Observatory.

In the last 10 days, there has been one earthquake magnitude 3.0 and greater centered nearby.

On Monday, a 4.4 magnitude earthquake struck in nearby Encino, the most significant shaker in Southern California since a 5.5 temblor hit Chino Hills in 2008.

The 6:26 a.m. quake jolted many Southern Californians awake. It was followed by several aftershocks, the largest being a magnitude 2.7.

Seismologists had warned that there was a 5% chance the quake could be a foreshock, a prelude to a more powerful temblor along the little-noticed fault deep under the Santa Monica Mountains. That probability, however, would fall to 1% by Tuesday morning, they said.

The temblor surprised seismologists because it was the strongest to hit directly under the Santa Monica Mountains in the 80 years "since we started recording earthquakes in Southern California," Caltech seismologist Egill Hauksson said. Until now, experts recorded only magnitude 1 to 3 quakes there.

Monday's 6:25 a.m. temblor showed that for all that is understood about quakes, much remains unknown. Southern California's most destructive earthquakes in the last generation — the 5.9 Whittier Narrows in 1987 and the 6.7 Northridge in 1994 — occurred on faults unknown to scientists before the shaking began.

"Clearly, earthquakes happen in places you don't expect," said Thomas Heaton, director of Caltech's Earthquake Engineering Research Laboratory. "The bigger the earthquake, eventually, you really are surprised to find an earthquake on a fault you didn't know about."

Information about Tuesday's 2.6 quake in Brentwood comes from the USGS Earthquake Notification Service and this post was created by an algorithm written by the author.

Read more about Southern California earthquakes.

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