Powerful Earthquake Rocks Southern California

A preliminary magnitude 7.1 earthquake hits Southern California the day after another large quake hit the region.

Posted: Jul 5, 2019 10:35 PM
Updated: Jul 6, 2019 1:43 AM

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The Latest on Southern California's strongest earthquake in 20 years (all times local):

8:30 p.m.

An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.9 has jolted Southern California, but there are no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake hit at 8:19 p.m. Friday and was centered 11 miles from Ridgecrest, where a magnitude 6.4 quake struck on Thursday.  Seismologist Dr. Lucy Jones, from CalTech, called the quake on Thursday a foreshock, ahead of Friday night's even bigger quake.  The agency initially said the earthquake had a magnitude of 7.1.

The quake was felt downtown as a rolling motion that seemed to last at least a half-minute. It was felt as far away as Las Vegas, and the USGS says it also was felt in Mexico.

If the preliminary magnitude is correct, it would be the largest Southern California quake in 20 years.

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4 p.m.

Seismologists say there have been 1,700 aftershocks in the wake of the strongest earthquake to hit Southern California in 20 years but the chances of another large temblor are diminishing.

A magnitude 5.4 quake at 4:07 a.m. Friday is so far the strongest aftershock of Thursday's 6.4 quake, which struck in the Mojave Desert near the town of Ridgecrest.

Zachary Ross of the California Institute of Technology says the number of aftershocks might be slightly higher than average. He also says a quake of that size could continue producing aftershocks for years.

The quake caused some damage to buildings and roads in and around Ridgecrest.

However, seismologists say it's unlikely the quake will affect any fault lines away from the immediate area, such as the mighty San Andreas.

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1:20 p.m.

The city of Los Angeles is planning to reduce the threshold for public notifications by its earthquake early warning app, but officials say it was in the works before Southern California's big earthquake Thursday.

The ShakeAlert LA app was designed to notify users of magnitudes of 5.0 or greater and when a separate intensity scale predicts potentially damaging shaking.

Robert de Groot of the U.S. Geological Survey says lowering the magnitude to 4.5 was already being worked on and had been discussed with LA as recently as a day before Thursday's magnitude 6.4 quake centered in the Mojave Desert.

The shaking intensity levels predicted for LA were below damaging levels, so an alert was not triggered.

Mayor's office spokeswoman Andrea Garcia also says the lower magnitude threshold has been in the planning stages and an update to the system is expected this month.

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7:05 a.m.

A vigorous aftershock sequence is following the strongest earthquake to hit Southern California in 20 years.

A magnitude 5.4 quake at 4:07 a.m. Friday is so far the strongest aftershock of Thursday's magnitude 6.4 jolt, and was felt widely.

Seismologists had said there was an 80% probability of an aftershock of that strength.

Thursday's big quake struck in the Mojave Desert, about 150 miles (240 kilometers) northeast of Los Angeles, near the town of Ridgecrest, which suffered damage to buildings and roads.

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9 p.m.

The strongest earthquake in 20 years shook a large swath of Southern California and parts of Nevada on the July 4th holiday, rattling nerves and causing injuries and damage in a town near the epicenter, followed by a swarm of ongoing aftershocks.

The 6.4 magnitude quake struck at 10:33 a.m. Thursday in the Mojave Desert, about 150 miles (240 kilometers) northeast of Los Angeles, near the town of Ridgecrest, California.

Kern County Fire Chief David Witt says multiple injuries and two house fires were reported in the town of 28,000. Emergency crews were also dealing with small vegetation fires, gas leaks and reports of cracked roads.

Witt says 15 patients were evacuated from the Ridgecrest Regional Hospital as a precaution and out of concern for aftershocks.

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