6.4 Earthquake Rattles Southern California

on Jul4
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A 6.4 earthquake rattled Southern California Thursday morning, with residents reporting feeling it from the high desert to Laguna Niguel.

The earthquake was centered in Searles Valley, near the high desert town of Ridgecrest and was reported at 10:33 a.m.

Multiple aftershocks were reported after the main temblor, ranging from magnitude 2.8 to magnitude 4.2.

There is a high likelihood of an aftershock larger than a 5.0 magnitude Thursday afternoon among the expected swarm of aftershocks, according to Dr. Lucy Jones, a prominent seismologist and Southern California earthquake expert who works with the USGS and Caltech.

The earthquake was 5.4 miles deep, which is considered moderate. The closer to the surface an earthquake is, the more it is usually felt.

There were widespread reports of heavy shaking near the temblor’s epicenter outside of Ridgecrest, and some damage. There were reports of several fires and broken gas lines.

Evacuations were underway after noon at Ridgecrest Regional Hospital, according to the Kern County Fire Department.

Members of the Los Angeles County Fire Department were headed to Kern County to assist, according to a tweet from its main account.

There were no immediate reports of damage in the Los Angeles area.

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The quake was in the same area that was struck by a magnitude-5.4 quake in 1995. That Aug. 17 earthquake, centered north of Ridgecrest, was followed by more than 2,500 aftershocks during the following five weeks.

On Sept. 20 that same year, a second large earthquake struck the region. At magnitude-5.8, it was likely on the same fault system as the earlier quake. More than 1,900 aftershocks followed the September earthquake.

In October 1999, one of the largest earthquakes recorded in Southern California was centered in the region. The magnitude-7.1 Hector Mine quake produced shaking throughout SoCal and in parts of Arizona to Nevada from its epicenter in the Mojave Desert. It was in such a remote location that it was named after an open quarry pit and caused little damage, aside from a surface rupture in the Twentynine Palms Marine Base.



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