Expert: L.A.'s 5.4 quake 'small sample' of one to come

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- A magnitude-5.4 earthquake shook the Los Angeles metropolitan area Tuesday, leaving residents rattled but causing no serious damage or injuries.

However, the temblor served as a warning to southern Californians who had not experienced an earthquake in some time: the "Big One" remains a possibility.

"This is a sample, a small sample," said Kate Hutton, a seismologist at the California Institute of Technology.

"This is somewhere between small and moderate." She said there is a 5 percent chance the quake could be a precursor to a larger earthquake. After 24 hours, she said, that chance will drop to 1 percent.

"Every earthquake relie