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'Rocks falling everywhere' when earthquake shook Santa Cruz Island, visitors recount

'Rocks falling everywhere' when earthquake shook Santa Cruz Island, visitors recount
A landslide caused by an April 5 quake near Santa Cruz Island. (Ventura County Fire Department)

No where was the magnitude-5.3 quake that hit Southern California on Thursday felt more strongly than on Santa Cruz Island, near the epicenter of the strongest temblor to hit the region in several years.

No one was hurt, but visitors to the island described powerful shaking.The temblor occurred just before 12:30 p.m. and was centered south of the island.

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It was felt as far away as Bakersfield, Palmdale and the city of Orange, according to witnesses and the U.S. Geological Survey.

"There were a bunch of rocks falling everywhere around us," one visitor told KCBS-TV.

"We were pretty close to the edge of the cliff and I thought it was going to split off," another said.

The Ventura County Fire Department and National Park Service posted photos of the earth moving on coastal cliffs.

A park service spokeswoman told KEYT-TV that the quake sent some bricks toppling off a chimney from a historic ranch property built in the 1860s on the island.

A live web camera trained on an eagles' nest shows a parent bird and three chicks as their tree begins shaking. The parent flies off as the chicks look around bewildered. The parent eagle returns moments later, after the shaking.

The temblor was located near the East Santa Cruz Basin fault zone, said Caltech seismologist Egill Hauksson, and seismologist Lucy Jones said on Twitter that the fault system "moves Southern California around a bend of the San Andreas fault."

"Earthquakes happen out there now and again. There's a major offshore fault system," Hauksson said.

When asked why some people felt the earthquake but others nearby didn't, Hauksson said where a person is matters a lot. "People in high rises probably felt it pretty well," he said. People on softer soils might also feel stronger shaking.

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