A 7.1 magnitude earthquake has rattled parts of Southern California, the biggest tremor to strike in 20 years.
It struck at the shallow depth of 0.9km (0.6 miles) and its epicentre was near the city of Ridgecrest, about 240km north-east of Los Angeles. A 6.4-magnitude quake hit the same area on Thursday at a depth of nearly 11km.
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.
However, Dr Jones said it was not likely the quake would trigger shocks on other fault lines. The earthquake was felt as far away as Las Vegas in the neighbouring state of Nevada and over the border in Mexico. California Governor Gavin Newsom offered his “heartfelt support” to all those affected, and has requested a Presidential Emergency Declaration and federal aid to help.
Fires have broken out and emergency services are responding to calls across the state after the quake. “We’ve got fires, we’ve got gas leaks, we’ve got injuries, we’ve got people without power,” Ridgecrest Mayor Peggy Breeden told Reuters news agency. “We’re dealing with it as best we can.”
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