The magnitude-5.3 earthquake that rattled Southern California on Thursday was the strongest in the area several years.  Though there were no immediate reports of damage, the quake was felt across a wide area and was a blunt reminder that California is earthquake country. The U.S. Geological Survey put the epicenter about 23 miles off the Channel Islands, about 85 miles west of Los Angeles.  It was centered

near the Eastern Santa Cruz Basin Fault Zone, Caltech seismologist Egill Hauksson said. “Earthquakes happen out there now and again. There’s a major offshore fault system,” he said.  Seismologist Lucy Jones said on Twitter that the fault system “moves Southern California around a bend of the San Andreas fault.” There is a slightly greater likelihood that the temblor could trigger a larger earthquake, but that chance decreases with time, Hauksson said. READ MORE