A powerful 7.1-magnitude earthquake swayed buildings and cracked foundations in Southern California on Friday night, sending terrified residents sleeping on the streets a day after another temblor hit. The latest earthquake Friday struck 11 miles northeast of Ridgecrest, according to the US Geological Survey. It was five times bigger than Thursday’s 6.4 -magnitude earthquake, also centered near Ridgecrest, CNN Meteorologist Brandon Miller said. Gas leaks caused structure fires throughout Ridgecrest, residents reported water main breaks, and the power and communications were out in some areas, Mark Ghilarducci, Director of California Governors’ Office of Emergency Management, said. Several injuries were reported, according to Kern County spokeswoman Megan Person. About 130 residents from Bakersfield and Trona were staying in a temporary shelter, Person said. “On behalf of all Californians, I offer my heartfelt support to those affected by tonight’s earthquake near Ridgecrest,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said Saturday. The governor said he requested a presidential emergency declaration for assistance.
The San Bernardino County Fire Department said it received multiple reports of damage as well from northwest communities. “Homes shifted, foundation cracks, retaining walls down,” the department said. “One injury (minor) with firefighters treating patient.”
Bakersfield resident Giovanna Gomez was at home with her family when their house swayed and the water in her pool overflowed. They ran outside. “It was about a minute long,” she said. “Far larger than the one that (happened) yesterday. It was a smooth roll going back and forth.” Bakersfield is in Kern County about 110 miles from Ridgecrest. Donald Castle, who lives in Porterville west of Ridgecrest, said his house shook for nearly 25 seconds. “It was more of a shake than what we had on the Fourth. It lasted longer and was more rolling,” he said.
No reports of major gas leaks or fatalities have been made, Kern County Fire Department Chief David Witt said. But calls came in for ambulance and medical assistance. In Los Angeles, about 150 miles south Ridgecrest, residents felt the earth shake, but no reports of serious damage were made, Mayor Eric Garcetti said. The Los Angeles County Fire Department reported no major damage, deaths or serious injuries, but said some wires were down and power was out in some locations.
The shaking was felt as far away as Mexico and Las Vegas, according to the USGS.
The NBA Summer League game between the New Orleans Pelicans and the New York Knicks in Las Vegas was postponed Friday following reports of the quake. Scoreboards and speakers near the ceiling of the arena shook when the earthquake hit.
CalTech seismologist Lucy Jones said Friday both earthquakes are part of an ongoing sequence, of a “very energetic system.” The latest 7.1-magnitude earthquake was the mainshock, while Thursday’s 6.4-magnitude quake was a foreshock, according to Jones.
In addition to being bigger, Miller said it released more than 11 times the amount of energy than the 6.4 one. More earthquakes are possible. Newsom said he has activated the state emergency operation center to its highest level. “The state is coordinating mutual aid to local first responders,” he tweeted Friday night.