4.4 Quake Rattles Southern California
It caused brief panic, but no injuries
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 30, 2015 12:40 AM CST
This USGS map shows where the quake's effects were strongest.   (United States Geological Survey)

(Newser) – A moderate earthquake shook an inland area of Southern California near San Bernardino on Tuesday night, giving a start to thousands across a heavily populated area, with more than one person comparing it to a rumbling big rig. There were no immediate reports of damages or injuries, however. The magnitude-4.4 quake hit in foothills northwest of San Bernardino about 5:38pm at a depth of about 3 miles, according to the US Geological Survey. Aftershocks of magnitude 3.8 and 3.2 came minutes later, and dozens of tiny aftershocks followed in the next few hours.

People reported feeling the earthquake throughout the suburbs east of Los Angeles, which is about 50 miles southwest of the epicenter. Brenda Torres, 24, a waitress at Papa Tony's Diner in San Bernardino, says customers were a bit shaken but kept calm. Nothing in the restaurant rattled or broke and the quake was so short there wasn't even time to take cover under a table. "At first I thought it was a semi-truck that had hit the building or something," she says. Laura Melgoza, 23, a college student and cashier at WaBa Grill in San Bernardino, says she and her co-workers headed toward the front of the building as the restaurant shook. "I was just panicking," she says. "It was the biggest one that I've felt."