A Shaken California

March 21, 1994

A strong aftershock struck Southern California yesterday afternoon -- barely two months after an earthquake killed 61 people and caused billions of dollars in damage. Yesterday's temblor, which measured 5.3 on the Richter scale, cracked a recently repaired highway, shattered windows and knocked out power to some communities.

But it took its greatest toll on the nerves of Southern Californians. Though no deaths or major injuries were reported, the quake sent frightened San Fernando Valley residents streaming out of their homes. Many refused initially to go back inside, fearing that still more aftershocks could cause their roofs to collapse.

The temblor yesterday, which lasted about 30 seconds, struck in the middle of preparations for tonight's Academy Awards, interrupting rehearsals and rattling participants. The towering Oscar statues outside the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion swayed but did not fall.

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