US: Strongest earthquake in 20 years rocks Southern California
A powerful 7.1 magnitude earthquake, the biggest tremor to strike in 20 years, has rocked Southern California. A 6.4-magnitude quake hit the same area on Thursday.
The Friday earthquake hit about 11 miles from Ridgecrest, the town in Kern County which was very close to the epicenter of the quake that was felt on Thursday.
Seismologist Dr. Lucy Jones said the quakes could continue. “This is an earthquake sequence,” she said at a press conference. “It will be ongoing.”
“Every earthquake makes another earthquake more likely,” she added, saying there was a 10% chance of a similar or even larger quake following in the next week.
The quake, which interrupted sports games and sparked fires, was felt downtown as a rolling motion that seemed to last at least a half-minute.
It was felt as far away as Las Vegas, and the USGS says it also was felt in Mexico.
Fires have broken out and emergency services are responding to calls across the state after the quake. There have been no reports of serious injuries so far, Police chief Jed McLaughlin said at a press conference.
The San Bernardino County Fire Department said reports suggested “damage is more significant than yesterday’s quake”, and said they were tackling blazes and gas leaks.
A magnitude 5.4 quake at 4:07 a.m. Friday has been the strongest aftershock of Thursday’s 6.4 quake, which struck in the Mojave Desert near the town of Ridgecrest.
KCAL9 news anchors Juan Fernandez and Sara Donchey were live on air when the Los Angeles area was hit by the earthquake Friday night.
“This is a very strong earthquake,” Donchey said, grabbing onto Fernandez’s hand. “8:21 here and we’re experiencing very strong shaking. I think we need to get under the desk, Juan.”