Magnitude 7.1 earthquake hits southern California, strongest in 20 years

Xinhua
A magnitude 7.1 earthquake on Friday hit southern California at 8:19pm local time (0319 GMT Saturday), according to the United States Geological Survey.
Xinhua
Magnitude 7.1 earthquake hits southern California, strongest in 20 years
AFP

Cracks are seen on the road along Hwy 178 north of Rodgecrest some 16 miles south of Trona on July 4, 2019.

A magnitude 7.1 earthquake on Friday hit southern California at 8:19pm local time (0319 GMT Saturday), according to the United States Geological Survey.

The epicenter is near Ridgercrest, a city in Kern County which is located 272 km north of Los Angeles downtown. A nearby area was hit by a magnitude 6.4 earthquake Thursday.

According to Kern County officials, there are roughly 1,800 people without power following the 7.1-magnitude earthquake, but there are currently no reports of major gas leaks and no fatalities immediately reported.

Kern County Fire Department said it is responding to calls for service and ordering additional resources. Kern County is activating the emergency operations center.

The Chinese Consulate General in Los Angeles was concerned about the earthquake in a release on Friday night, and expressed condolences to families affected by the earthquake, including overseas Chinese.

The Consulate General has not received reports of Chinese citizens seeking help after the disaster, said the release.

The Consulate General also urged Chinese citizens to pay attention to official information and media reports, respond appropriately during the earthquake, ensure personal safety, and contact the Consulate General when necessary.

The Los Angeles Fire Department has been dispatching vehicles and helicopters around the city to identify any damage or emergency needs, said Brian Humphrey of the department.

"This is part of the same sequence," said Lucy Jones, a seismologist from California Institute of Technology, referring to the quake and the other one in Searles Valley on Thursday, at a press conference which was held 45 minutes after Friday's quake.

She explained that usually, the aftershock would not be stronger, but about 5 percent of the major quakes might be followed by something even bigger.

"Smaller quakes - M5s are likely and a M6 is quite possible," she tweeted after the quake.

The last time southern California saw a major quake was in 1999, when a magnitude 7.1 quake jolted the state in the Hector Mines area of the Mojave Desert. No major damage or injuries occurred because of its distance from Los Angeles.

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