Southern California Reels From 7.1 Quake
This is the second earthquake in as many days
Photo AP News
An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.1 jolted much of California, cracking buildings, setting fires, breaking roads and causing several injuries while seismologists warned that large aftershocks were expected to continue for days, if not weeks, AP News reported.
The Friday night quake — preceded by Thursday’s 6.4-magnitude temblor in the Mojave Desert — was the largest Southern California quake in at least 20 years and was followed by a series of large and small aftershocks, including a few above magnitude 5.0.
There is about a 1-in-10 chance that another 7.0 quake could hit within the next week, said Lucy Jones, a seismologist at the California Institute of Technology and a former science adviser at the U.S. Geological Survey.
The chance of a 5.0-magnitude quake “is approaching certainty,” she added.
Aftershocks from the new main quake could occur for years, Jones said.
However, the quake was unlikely to affect fault lines outside of the area, she said, noting that the gigantic San Andreas Fault was far away.
The quake struck at 8:19 p.m. and was centered 11 miles (18 kilometers) from Ridgecrest in the same areas where the previous quake hit.
“These earthquakes are related,” Jones said, adding that the new quake probably ruptured along about 25 miles (40 kilometers) of fault line and was part of a continuing sequence.
Gov. Gavin Newsom activated the state Office of Emergency Services operations center “to its highest level” and announced he had requested that President Donald Trump issue an emergency declaration so the state could receive federal aid.
The quake was felt as far north as Sacramento, as far east as Las Vegas and as far south as Mexico.
The area in and around Ridgecrest, already trying to recover from the previous temblor, took the brunt of damage. Several thousand people were without power, and there were reports of cracked buildings.
“There are significant reports of structure fires, mostly as a result of gas leaks or gas line breaks throughout the city” and daybreak Saturday could show even more serious damage, said Mark Ghilarducci, director of California Office of Emergency Services.
Local fire and police officials said they were initially swamped by calls for medical and ambulance service. But there was “nothing but minor injuries such as cuts and bruises, by the grace of God,” Ridgecrest Police Chief Jed McLaughlin said.
Two building fires — one involving a mobile home — were quickly doused, and there were several reports of natural gas leaks, but the lines were shut off, McLaughlin said.
For the second time in as many days, Ridgecrest Regional Hospital wheeled patients out of the building, some still hooked to IVs, CNN reported.
Nearby, the tiny town of Trona, with about 2,000 residents, was reported to have at least one collapsed building. Roads were buckled or blocked, and police put out a call for bottled water for residents.
State Route 178 in Kern County was closed by a rockslide and had severe cracking.
Several homes were knocked off their foundations. Buildings were cracked, but there were only minor injuries, authorities said.
In downtown Los Angeles, 150 miles away, offices in skyscrapers rolled and rocked for at least 30 seconds.