Powerful 7.1 magnitude earthquake hits California


A powerful magnitude 7.1 earthquake hit parts of Southern California on Friday, the strongest tremor in the region in 25 years.

The quake struck the town of Ridgecrest on the edge of Death Valley National Park 202 km (125 miles) northeast of Los Angeles.

It comes a day after a 6.4-magnitude quake hit the same area at a depth of nearly 11km.

Authorities say the earthquake has caused injuries, sparked fires, shut roads and shaken ball games and theme parks.

Kern County Fire Chief David Witt says there have been no reported fatalities.

Seismologist Dr Lucy Jones said the quakes could continue. “This is an earthquake sequence,” she said at a press conference. “It will be ongoing.”

“Every earthquake makes another earthquake more likely,” she added, saying there was a 10% chance of a similar or even larger quake following in the next week.

The earthquake was felt as far away as Las Vegas in the neighbouring state of Nevada and over the border in Mexico.

Thursday’s quake during America’s Independence Day celebrations was the largest in Southern California since the 1994 magnitude 6.6 Northridge earthquake, USGS geophysicist Paul Caruso said.

That quake, which was centered in a heavily populated area of Los Angeles, killed 57 people and caused damage worth billions of dollars.

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