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Southern California hit by 7.1 magnitude earthquake

The latest quake is part of what geologists are calling an ‘earthquake sequence’ and follows a 6.4 magnitude quake on Thursday.

Cracks which appeared in the road during Thursday's 6.4 magnitude quake.
Cracks which appeared in the road during Thursday's 6.4 magnitude quake.
Image: Gene Blevins

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA HAS been hit with a 7.1 magnitude earthquake, the second tremor along the US west coast in just two days. 

On Thursday, a 6.4 magnitude tremor rocked the San Bernardino area of California with experts warning it may not be the last. 

At the time, seismologist Lucy Jones warned there was a “one-in-20 chance that this location will be having an even bigger earthquake within the next few days, that we have not yet seen the biggest earthquake of the sequence”. 

Yesterday evening, a stronger 7.1 magnitude quake hit the region and was felt in towns and cities across the state, including Los Angeles and the town of Ridgecrest where residents were left without power as a result. 

The tremor was felt more than 240km away in Los Angeles, where the fire department deployed vehicles and helicopters to check on damage and residents in need of emergency aid.

The latest quake is part of what geologists are calling an “earthquake sequence”.

Following yesterday’s tremor, Jones said there is a possibility that another, even greater, earthquake could hit the region in the coming days. 

“Like any quake, today’s M7.1 has a one-in-20 [chance] of being followed by something even bigger. Smaller quakes – M5s are likely and a M6 is quite possible,” she said in a tweet. 

The quake was the largest in southern California since 1999 when a 7.1-magnitude Hector Mine quake struck the Twentynine Palms marine corps base, according to The Los Angeles Times.

The Los Angeles Fire Department said there was no major damage caused to buildings and infrastructure in the city, and no reports of anybody seriously injured during Friday’s event. 

The tremor sent Ridgecrest residents fleeing outside for safety and reporting continued aftershocks, with one woman saying she was “not comfortable” about heading back inside for the night.

The shaking stops “for a minute, and then it starts rolling again… it’s pretty bizarre. But now at the moment, I’m not comfortable inside,” said Jessica Kormelink.

The quake revived fears of the so-called Big One – a powerful tremor along the San Andreas Fault line that could devastate major cities in southern California.

With reporting from AFP. © – AFP 2019

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