Southern California was shaken by its strongest earthquake in years Thursday, and while there were no reports of major damage, plenty of residents were alarmed—including a family of eagles on Santa Cruz Island, which was close to the offshore epicenter of the 5.3 quake. A camera on the island caught an adult eagle flying away as the tree its nest was in began to shake, NBC Los Angeles reports. It returned moments later to check on some recently hatched chicks. The quake, the strongest since a 5.4 quake in Imperial County in 2012, caused minor landslides on the island. It was felt across the Los Angeles area and as far away as Bakersfield.
"A 5.3 could be damaging if it was right under our feet," John Vidale, director of the Southern California Earthquake Center at USC, tells the Los Angeles Times. "It's right on the edge of being an earthquake that could be dangerous. It's a reminder that we need to be ready in the future." He says the quake was strong enough to activate California's early warning system, which is still being developed. The beeping went off 10 to 15 seconds before the quake could be felt at the Los Angeles Campus. "We all felt it pretty well. It was small and distinct," Vidale says. "We heard the warning go off and then we heard the shaking." (Researchers are also developing an earthquake warning system for smartphones.)
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