The Associated Press LOS ANGELES (AP) — A quake with a magnitude of 7.1 jolted much of California, cracked buildings, set fires, broke roads and caused several injuries while seismologists warned that large aftershocks were expected to continue.
The 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 handful 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.
However, the quake was unlikely to affect fault lines outside of the area, Jones said, noting that the gigantic San Andreas Fault was far away.
The quake struck at 8:19 p.m. and was centered 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 40 kilometers of fault line.
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.
State Route 178 in Kern County was closed by a rockslide, and video showed a stretch of roadway had sunk. A fire at a mobile home park burnt several trailers.
But Kern County Fire Chief David Witt said there had been no immediate reports of building collapses or deaths, although injury reports sent paramedics scrambling.
“We know of no fatalities. There have been a lot of ambulance calls for help,” Kern County Fire Chief David Witt said at a news conference. “We’re launching a lot of people ... I am very confident that we can take care of the situation.”
San Bernardino County firefighters reported cracked buildings and one minor injury.
In downtown Los Angeles, 240 kilometers away, offices in skyscrapers rolled and rocked for at least 30 seconds.
Andrew Lippman, who lives in suburban South Pasadena, was sitting outside and reading the paper when Friday’s quake hit.
“It just started getting stronger and stronger, and I looked into my house and the lamp started to sway. I could see power lines swaying,” he said. “This one seemed 45 [seconds]... I’m still straightening pictures.”Speech