Sunday 25 August 2019

California hit by powerful earthquake, the second in two days

A house burns after an earthquake in Ridgecrest, California, U.S. Photo: Jessica Weston/Daily Independent via REUTERS.
A house burns after an earthquake in Ridgecrest, California, U.S. Photo: Jessica Weston/Daily Independent via REUTERS.

John Antczak and Brady McCombs

An earthquake with a magnitude as large as 7.1 has jolted much of California, cracking buildings, igniting fires, breaking up roads and causing several injuries.

The quake - preceded by Thursday's 6.4-magnitude tremor in the Mojave Desert - was the largest southern California earthquake in at least 20 years and was followed by a series of aftershocks.

It hit at 8.19pm local time on Friday (4.19am on Saturday in the UK) and was centred 11 miles from Ridgecrest in the same area where the previous quake hit.

But it was felt as far north as Sacramento, as far east as Las Vegas and as far south as Mexico.

The area in and around Ridgecrest, already trying to recover from the previous quake, took the brunt of damage.

Kern County Fire Chief David Witt said there had been no reports of building collapses or deaths, but a number of people were injured.

Meanwhile, a rockslide closed State Route 178 in Kern River Canyon, where photos from witnesses also showed that a stretch of the road had sunk.

San Bernardino County firefighters reported cracked buildings and one minor injury.

In this photo provided by Adam Graehl, food and other merchandise lies on the floor at the Stater Bros. on China Lake Blvd., after an earthquake, Thursday, July 4, 2019, in Ridgecrest, Calif. (Adam Graehl via AP)
In this photo provided by Adam Graehl, food and other merchandise lies on the floor at the Stater Bros. on China Lake Blvd., after an earthquake, Thursday, July 4, 2019, in Ridgecrest, Calif. (Adam Graehl via AP)
This photo provided by Adam Graehl shows food that fell from shelves on the floor at the Stater Bros. on China Lake Blvd., in Ridgecrest, Calif., Thursday, July 4, 2019. (Adam Graehl via AP)
A damaged motorhome is seen red-taped after an earthquake, Thursday, July 4, 2019, in Ridgecrest, Calif. (AP Photo/Matt Hartman)
Pipes are damaged from an earthquake, Thursday, July 4, 2019, in Trona, Calif. (AP Photo/Matt Hartman)
A worker carries a ladder into an Albertsons grocery store after an earthquake, Thursday, July 4, 2019, in Ridgecrest, Calif. (AP Photo/Matt Hartman)
This photo provided by Adam Graehl shows food and other damaged merchandise on the floor at the Stater Bros. on China Lake Blvd., after an earthquake struck, in Ridgecrest, Calif., Thursday, July 4, 2019. (Adam Graehl via AP)
Shattered glass lies on the floor at a vacant business after an earthquake, Thursday, July 4, 2019, in Trona, Calif. (AP Photo/Matt Hartman)
A motorcyclist rides over a temporarily repaired part of damage on Highway 178 in Ridgecrest, Calif., following an earthquake in the area Thursday, July 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Matt Hartman)
Lights swing in Santa Clarita, California, U.S. during an earthquake that hit Southern California in this still frame taken from social media video dated July 5, 2019. Mandatory credit LU via INSTAGRAM @LUONTHEHOOKS/via REUTERS
Fire is seen at a mobile home park in Ridgecrest, California, U.S. after an earthquake hit, in this still frame taken from social media video dated July 5, 2019. Mandatory credit WORLD CENTRAL KITCHEN/via REUTERS
Robert Graves, a seismologist from the U.S. Geological Survey, stands in front of a display of earthquakes in Searles Valley during a news conference at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., Friday evening, July 5. (AP Photo/John Antczak)
Products lie on market's floor following an earthquake in Ridgecrest, California, U.S., July 5, 2019, in this picture grab obtained from a social media video. TRINITYLAYNE75/via REUTERS
A fireman looks over a home Saturday, July 6, 2019 that burned after a earthquake in Ridgecrest, Calif. ( AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
A worker steps over merchandise that is scattered on the floor of a Albertson's grocery store Saturday, July 6, 2019 following a earthquake in Ridgecrest, Calif. ( AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

In central Los Angeles, 150 miles away, offices in skyscrapers rolled and rocked for at least 30 seconds.

Andrew Lippman, who lives in suburban South Pasadena, was sitting outside and reading the paper when Friday's quake hit.

"It just started getting stronger and stronger, and I looked into my house and the lamp started to sway. I could see power lines swaying," he said. "This one seemed 45 (seconds)... I'm still straightening pictures."

Governor Gavin Newsom activated the state office of emergency services operations centre "to its highest level".

He said: "The state is co-ordinating mutual aid to local first responders."

Lucy Jones, a seismologist at the California Institute of Technology and a former science adviser at the Geological Survey, tweeted that Thursday's earthquake was a "foreshock" and Friday's quake was on the same fault system.

"You know we say we have a one in 20 chance that an earthquake will be followed by something bigger? This is that one in 20 time," she tweeted.

Seismologists have warned that large aftershocks are expected to continue.

In LA, the quake rattled Dodger Stadium in the fourth inning of the team's game against the San Diego Padres.

The quake happened when Dodgers second baseman Enrique Hernandez was batting. It did not appear to affect him or Padres pitcher Eric Lauer and the game continued.

But fans in the stadium were rattled.

Daniel Earle, 52, of Playa del Rey, who was sitting with his wife in the stadium's reserve level, said: "Everyone was jumping over us to leave. People were freaking out.

"There was a concession guy, and he actually was really cool because he was really calm. He's like, 'Relax. Tranquilo. Relax. Tranquilo,' and people were looking around.

"My wife was holding us, like squeezing. I'm surprised my arm is still here. She was squeezing into it so hard."

An NBA Summer League game in Las Vegas was stopped after the quake. Speakers over the court at the Thomas & Mack Centre continued swaying more than 10 minutes after the tremor.

Disneyland in Orange County and Six Flags Magic Mountain in Santa Clarita closed their rides.

Reuters

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