For the second time in two days, Southern California was shaken by a significant earthquake. A magnitude 7.1 earthquake was reported shortly after 8:00 p.m. Pacific Time, Friday evening, July 5, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
The epicenter of the quake was reported to be within 10 miles of Ridgecrest, Calif. However, the tremor, reportedly lasting for 30–40 seconds, was felt as far northeast as Las Vegas and as far southwest as Los Angeles, both a distance of 150 miles away.
Friday evening’s earthquake near Ridgecrest follows a 6.4 magnitude quake, also centered within a few miles Ridgecrest, that took place Thursday, July 4 just after 10:30 a.m. Pacific time. Thursday’s quake was strong enough to cause structural damage to buildings, sever gas lines, and cause fires in the area.
As reported by USA Today, Randy Baldwin, a geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey’s National earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colorado, had been recording numerous aftershocks in the region through Friday morning. “We’re getting aftershocks every few minutes. There are hundreds of them,” Baldwin reported.
After Thursday’s quake, seismologists had predicted that aftershocks would likely continue and could lead to another quake above magnitude 6.0. A few of the aftershocks had previously reached a magnitude above 5.0.
Police and fire and rescue workers in the Ridgecrest area are making preparations for additional aftershocks, in anticipation of downed structures and the possibility of people being trapped. A state of emergency has been declared for the area while the aftershocks are expected to continue.