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Recent Earthquake is Good for an Island Geography Lesson

9:51 a.m., Thursday, Dec. 3, 2009
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A 2.5 microquake struck the seas yesterday morning. It's doubtful that anyone felt it because it was in the middle of the ocean, 81 miles southwest of downtown Los Angeles. But what's fun about its location is its proximity to the four southern Channel Islands. Since the mere presence of islands off the coast of Southern California seems to perplex a lot of people, we thought it was a good moment to at least identify them. The most popular island--northeast of the quake--of course, is Catalina (officially, Santa Catalina) Island. The 76-square mile mass is home to two small towns--Avalon and Two Harbors--and during its heydey, had famous jazz band after jazz band playing parties in the Avalon Casino (no gambling, it's "casino" as in "place of entertainment). The island used to be the home to spring training for the Chicago Cubs (the Wrigley history is rich here) and non-native buffalo brought over for a movie. Most of the island--the "interior," as locals call it--is run by the Catalina Island Conservancy.