SM MOUNTAINS — Two small earthquakes shook the Santa Monica Mountains near Malibu Saturday night, according to the Caltech Seismological Laboratory.

The first, a magnitude 2.8, hit about six miles northwest of Malibu at 8:39 p.m. Just 45 seconds later, a second quake of magnitude 2.6 hit about one mile west of the first.

The quakes hit close to the epicenter of a 4.4 magnitude earthquake that occurred May 1, said Kate Hutton, a staff seismologist at Caltech.

Both quakes happened south of Thousand Oaks in a lightly populated area of the mountain range.

Though they were small, Hutton said people should have been able to feel it.

“People would feel those but we wouldn’t expect to see any damage. For any actual damage it would have to be above 5,” she said.

Southern California experiences many small earthquakes but most are unnoticeable.

“We normally have a minimum of 150 earthquakes a week. Normally it’s more like 200 to 250, but most of those are way too small for a person to feel,” Hutton said.

A 2008 study released by the Southern California Earthquake Center revealed that California has a 99 percent chance of experiencing a large earthquake in the next 30 years, but Hutton said there is no way to predict where the earthquake will strike.

“We have no way of knowing which [fault line] is more likely except that we know that the San Andreas has more earthquakes than most of the other ones,” she said. “It would be a good candidate but we can’t be sure.”

news@smdp.com

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