LOS ANGELES: A powerful magnitude 7.1 earthquake shook Southern California on Friday, causing some damage to buildings, with 11 times more force than an apparent foreshock that rattled the same area a day earlier.
The latest quake struck at about 8.20pm local time near the town of Ridgecrest on the edge of Death Valley National Park, about 202km northeast of Los Angeles, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS). It was also measured at 7.1 by the European-Mediterranean Seismological Agency.
Lucy Jones, a seismologist for the California Institute of Technology (CalTech), said Friday’s quake was the most powerful to hit the region since another 7.1 temblor in the same area in 1999.
The San Bernadino County Fire Department reported that Friday’s quake had caused some damage to buildings.
“Homes shifted, foundation cracks, retaining walls down,” the department said on Twitter. “One injury (minor) with firefighters treating the patient. No unmet needs currently.”
A swarm of strong aftershocks have jolted the high desert region of Southern California since a 6.4 quake on Thursday morning. Only a few injuries were reported in Thursday’s quake but two houses caught fire from broken gas pipes, officials said.
The USGS said Friday’s earthquake was about 11 times more forceful than Thursday’s tremor, which geologists described as a foreshock to the larger one.
The Metrolink commuter rail service said on Twitter it had halted service in Los Angeles, a city of 4 million people, for the time being in the immediate aftermath of the latest quake.
Pools in Los Angeles sloshed wildly and TV cameras at major league baseball’s Dodger Stadium were shaking as they filmed the night game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres.
Thursday’s quake hit during America’s Independence Day celebrations and was one of the largest in Southern California since the 1994 Northridge temblor.
The Northridge temblor, which was centered in a heavily populated area of Los Angeles, killed 57 people and caused billions of dollars of damage.