The United States Geological Survey reported that a magnitude 5.3 quake struck near the Channel Islands off the coast of Los Angeles at about 12:30 p.m. Thursday.
There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.
VIDEO: ABC7 Quake Cam captures 5.3-magnitude quake Following the quake, the Los Angeles Fire Department went into natural disaster mode to survey the greater Los Angeles area.
Los Angeles city fire fighters from all 106 of the agency's stations were fanning out across the city to survey any damage from the quake, according to spokeswoman Margaret Stewart.
The temblor hit beneath the Pacific Ocean about 12:29 p.m., at a depth of about 10 miles beneath the surface, USGS reported.
The island is largely unpopulated but does have some research facilities, historic buildings and hosts campers.
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The 5.3-magnitude natural disaster that rattled Southern California on Thursday was the strongest in the area several years, scientists said.
KTLA reported that shaking was felt in West LA, 85 miles east of the epicenter.
The National Weather Service added that there is no risk for tsunami.
Veteran seismologist Lucy Jones says earthquakes of such size typically occur about once per year at Southern California.
Sara Almeron, a worker at Manhattan Bagel in Woodland Hills, said she felt an quake as she was talking to co-workers.
He advised residents of Ventura County to visit VCreadysetgo.org and be prepared for other incidents.
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"So far, thankfully, there hasn't been any damage reported out of this", he said.
Some people in the Los Angeles area received about a 10-second warning before the shaking hit thanks to the state's quake early warning system, according to seismologists at the California Institute of Technology.
"We recognise that the probability of having a large quake goes up".
Emergency-response agencies say California residents should use Thursday's shaker as a reminder to formulate an natural disaster plan as well as the importance of having an quake kit ready and available.
Leonard said it was "pretty scary" and couldn't help but wonder whether it was going to be a "little tremor" or "the Big One that they're always talking about".
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