SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - An earthquake measured at magnitude 5.3 by the US Geological Service rocked portions of central and southern California Thursday afternoon.
The quake's epicenter was more than 17 miles southwest of Channel Islands Beach in waters south of Santa Cruz island. The USGS website reported the depth of the quake at more than 10 miles.
No significant damage has been reported after the earthquake in the Channel Islands region off the Southern California coast, but some bricks fell from a chimney at a historic ranch on one of the islands.
Channel Islands National Park spokeswoman Yvonne Menard says the bricks fell Thursday at a ranch building on Santa Cruz Island that dates to the 1860s.
Menard says the 12:29 p.m. quake was felt by visitors and staff on the island, but no injuries were reported.
Most of Santa Cruz, including the ranch area, is owned by The Nature Conservancy, which cooperatively manages the island with the Park Service.
Veteran seismologist Lucy Jones says earthquakes of such size typically occur about once a year in Southern California.
Reports to the newsroom indicated people felt the temblor from north of Santa Maria to Ventura County. The LA Times reported it was felt well into the greater Los Angeles area and Bakersfield.
David Zeff was in a meeting on the 5th floor of the Balboa building on State Street in Santa Barbara.
"I've never felt anything like that in my life," he said. Zeff said he stood up when he first felt the quake, describing it as "surfing while standing."
Zeff said he's felt other quakes in the past, but had not experienced one while in a building on a higher floor.
He said pedestrians on the street below continued to walk by, apparently oblivious to what was happening.
Santa Barbara County Fire spokesman Capt. David Zaniboni said fire trucks were removed from their station houses as a routine precaution.
Santa Barbara's school district had students evacuate buildings while inspections were done. No damage was found, and children returned to classrooms in the afternoon.