Get Ready for an Earthquake, NASA Tells L.A.

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Los Angeles residents better start making their earthquake-preparedness kits — scientists say there’s a 99 percent chance that a quake will rock the city sometime before 2018. 

Using radar and GPS to measure the likelihood of an earthquake, experts from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena predict a 5.0-magnitude shaker — or bigger — for the L.A. area. After the La Habra quake in spring 2014, there’s apparently enough strain on the L.A. basin to produce an even larger earthquake with the same epicenter just 20 miles southeast of downtown, JPL geophysicist Dr. Andrea Donnellan told CBS Los Angeles.

Although the earth isn’t expected to literally crack open, “there’s enough energy stored to produce about a magnitude 6.1 to 6.3 earthquake,” Donnellan says. 

No injuries were reported in the moderate 5.1-magnitude La Habra shaker, but an earthquake with a magnitude of 6 or higher on the Richter scale is considered “strong” and able to cause a lot of damage in heavily populated areas — like L.A.