Not Quite the Big One

But the worst jolt in 40 years gives Californians a real scare

If anything positive can be said about the strongest earthquake to hit California in 40 years, it's that it chose a relatively good place and time to strike. Sunday's powerful early-morning jolt -- 7.4 on the Richter scale in contrast to 7.1 for the 1989 San Francisco Bay area quake -- shook people from their beds and houses from their foundations and was felt as far away as Colorado and Washington. But it was centered in the sparsely populated Mojave Desert, some 100 miles east of Los Angeles. A second quake, with a Richter rating of 6.5, struck an even more...

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