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Small earthquake strikes near Los Angeles off California coast

The US Geological Survey said the 3.6-magnitude earthquake hit shortly after 2 AM Pacific time Monday morning in the coastal waters west of downtown Los Angeles.

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In this May 25, 2010 photo, the amusement pier in Santa Monica, Calif., is seen in the background as visitors walk the beach. The US Geological Survey says a 3.6-magnitude earthquake struck the Los Angeles area early Monday morning in coastal waters not far from the Santa Monica pier.

AP Photo/Reed Saxon

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A small undersea earthquake has struck off Santa Monica and was widely felt in the West Los Angeles area.

The U.S. Geological survey says the 3.6-magnitude temblor hit at 2:17 a.m. PDT Monday and was centered about four miles west of Redondo Beach at a depth of 8 miles.

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The USGS website recorded hundreds of hits from respondents saying they felt the quake — mainly people in oceanfront communities but some from central Los Angeles about 20 miles east.

A Santa Monica police spokesman says he felt a "very brief and mild jolt," but had not received any calls from the public.

Christopher Knight, a Scottsdale, Ariz., resident visiting in Marina del Ray, says the jolt lasted about a second. "It was very short shift from left to right."

Scientists say quakes of this magnitude, while often felt, are generally not strong enough to cause injury or damage.

IN PICTURES: The 1906 San Francisco earthquake


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