Earthquake jolts Southern California

By Kevin Byrne, – Re-Blogged From AccuWeather

A powerful magnitude 6.4 earthquake rocked Southern California on Thursday around 10:30 a.m. local time, jolting millions across the Southwest who were celebrating Independence Day.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the quake occurred about 7.5 miles (12 km) southwest of Searles Valley, California, which is located about 120 miles northeast of Los Angeles and about 140 miles west of Las Vegas. The area is located in a remote portion of the northern Mohave Desert.

big quake socal july 4th


Shaking was felt in much of central California and southern Nevada as well with residents in San Diego and Las Vegas reporting they felt the quake. No damage was reported in Las Vegas, according to city officials.

The temblor was initially rated as a 6.6 but was later revised to a 6.4. It had a shallow depth of 8.7 kilometers, one of reasons the quake was felt from distances so far away. Over 100 aftershocks occurred in the first three hours following the main earthquake, according to the USGS.

Ridgecrest, California, was the town closest to the epicenter with reports of structure damage and broken gas lines across the area. The Ridgecrest Regional Hospital was also evacuated shortly after the quake. Ridgecrest Mayor Peggy Breeden told CNN that there were at least 5 fires.

A state of emergency has been declared in Ridgecrest in response to the earthquake.

Twitter users in the area described the quake as a strong rolling motion with some residents posting videos showing hanging objects swaying in their homes and water flowing in waves in backyard pools.

Los Angeles International Airport said all runways have been inspected with no reported damage to the airfield or the Sepulveda tunnel.

“Operations remain normal,” airport officials said.

The San Bernardino County Fire District said on Twitter that no injuries have been reported, but buildings and roads have sustained varying degrees of damage. Officials surveying damage in northwestern communities reported that it consisted of minor cracks to buildings, broken water mains, downed power lines and rock slides on certain roads.

The Kern County Fire Department said it was responding to nearly two dozen incidents ranging from medical assistance to structure fires in the city of Ridgecrest, located near the epicenter of the earthquake. Urban search and rescued teams were deployed. There have not been any reports of fatalities or injuries in the city.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no threat of any tsunami.

According to the Los Angeles Times, this is the largest quake to strike the Southern California region since a 6.6 magnitude earthquake occurred in Northridge in 1994.

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