7.1-magnitude earthquake rocks Southern California, USGS says expect strong aftershocks

indica News Bureau-


A massive earthquake measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale that hit Southern California, Friday, July 5, evening is not over yet according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Ken Hudnut of the U.S. Geological Survey told media at a press conference the one that struck near Ridgecrest Friday evening – an aftershock of at least magnitude 6.1 should be expected.

According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the quake occurred at a depth of 0.9 km at 8.33 p.m. (local time) on Friday. It was the strongest quake to have hit Southern California in 20 years since another magnitude 7.1 quake dubbed “Hector Mine” struck in 1999.

Governor Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency for neighboring San Bernardino County which was also impacted by the effects of a second large magnitude earthquake near Ridgecrest that has damaged critical infrastructure, homes and other structures and has caused fires at several places.

A woman at the Regional Hospital based in Ridgecrest, California told indica they had to move patients to different locations and it was a chaos last night but getting clam. “Today we are bringing the patients back to the hospital.”

Another woman running Hari Om India Market based in Canyon County almost 100 miles from the epicenter told indica,”it was strong. But we are okay now.”

It struck 11 miles northeast of Ridgecrest and was five times bigger than Thursday’s earthquake, also centered near Ridgecrest.

Ridgecrest is a town of around 30,000 residents located 250 km north of the state’s biggest city, Los Angeles, where the quake could be felt.

In Ridgecrest, multiple fires broke out and several injuries were reported, according to Kern County spokeswoman Megan Person. The county has activated an emergency operations centre and nearly 2,000 people are without power, officials said, according to US media reports.

“Homes shifted, foundation cracks, retaining walls down. One injury (minor) with firefighters treating patient,” the Fire Department of San Bernardino County said on Twitter.

According to the department, reports suggested that “damage is more significant than yesterday’s quake”, and said they were also tackling gas leaks. However, there were no immediate reports of casualties.

The scientists said that tremors were felt all the way in Las Vegas on Friday, similarly like the earthquake on Thursday.

Crowds at a Los Angeles Dodgers baseball game were seen leaving their seats when the quake struck, although the players themselves continued playing.

In Las Vegas, a basketball match between the New York Knicks and the New Orleans Pelicans was abandoned because of the tremors, the BBC reported.

Scientists said that Thursday’s quake produced more than 1,400 aftershocks and left what looks like a “scar across the desert”.

Bakersfield resident Giovanna Gomez was at home with her family when their house swayed and the water in her pool overflowed. They ran outside.

Bakersfield is in Kern County about 110 miles from Ridgecrest.

“It (Friday earthquake) was about a minute long. Far larger than the one that (happened) yesterday. It was a smooth roll going back and forth,” Gomez was quoted as saying by a media report.

Renowned seismologist Lucy Jones said on Twitter that both earthquakes occurred on the same fault and were a “part of the same sequence”.

“You know (how) we say we (have a) 1 in 20 chance that an earthquake will be followed by something bigger? This is that 1 in 20 time.

“Like any quake, Friday’s M7.1 has a 1 in 20 of being followed by something even bigger. Smaller quakes – M5s are likely and a M6 is quite possible,” Jones said.

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