Biggest earthquake in 20 years hits Southern California

Agency, 5 July : Southern California has been rocked by a magnitude-6.4 earthquake, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said, with authorities warning that the tremor, the largest in two decades, might not be the day’s last.

The powerful earthquake struck near the city of Ridgecrest, about 175km northeast of Los Angeles, on Thursday. Emergency responders did not immediately report mass injuries or any deaths, but USGS seismologist Rob Graves said that “this earthquake is large enough that the shaking could have caused damage”.

The Kern County Fire Department said on Twitter it was working on “nearly two dozens incidents ranging from medical assistance to structure fires in and around the city of Ridgecrest, CA.”

The San Bernardino County Fire Department meanwhile said that “buildings and roads have sustained varying degrees of damage”.

This included “buildings with minor cracks; broken water mains; power lines down; rock slides on certain roads” but no injuries or fires.

Ridgecrest Mayor Peggy Breedon said the city was dealing with fires and broken gas lines, as well as falling objects that hit people, as the city endured many aftershocks.

“We are used to earthquakes but we’re not used to this significance,” she told MSNBC.

The quake is the largest in Southern California since the 1994 magnitude-6.6 Northridge earthquake, which was centred in a heavily populated area of Los Angeles and caused billions of dollars of damage, USGS geophysicist Paul Caruso said.


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