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April 7 Quake Was Centered at Newport Dunes Lagoon

June 29, 1989

The earthquake that rattled the Newport Beach area April 7 was centered at the mouth of the lagoon at Newport Dunes Aquatic Park, according to revised estimates released Wednesday by Caltech.

The lagoon, located on the channel leading from Newport Bay to Upper Newport Bay, is just north of East Coast Highway and is part of a marina and a recreation vehicle park.

Caltech also slightly reduced its estimate of the earthquake's magnitude, from 4.6 to 4.5.

Jim Compas, assistant dockmaster at the marina, said he was sitting in his office only a few yards from the epicenter when the sharp but brief quake struck at 1:07 p.m.

"It kind of threw me, first north, then south," Compas said. He said his most vivid memory of the quake was dust shaking loose from nearby condominium buildings and rising hundreds of feet into the air.

He said the only damage at the lagoon was minor cracks in concrete installed at the recreation vehicle park, which was being rebuilt.

The quake occurred on the Newport-Inglewood Fault and was far less in magnitude than the 5.9 Whittier quake in 1987 and the 5.0 Pasadena quake in 1988.

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