Southern California residents bracing for hundreds of powerful aftershocks Saturday after a major earthquake rattled them and shook buildings for a 2nd day running.
The latest tremor occurred in the Mojave Desert near Ridgecrest, a town of 22,000 people still reeling after a 6.4 magnitude earthquake on the Fourth of July.
The 7.1 quaker rocked the state Friday eve around 8:00p PDT local is largest to hit the area in nearly 20 years. The earthquake was felt throughout California, including in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay area and as far north as Sacramento and as far south as Mexico.
“This was a very large earthquake, and we also know there’s going to be a series of aftershocks as a result of the main quake,” the Office of Emergency Services director told reporters during a late-night news conference.
“This is not going to be something that’s going to be over right away.”
Friday’s quake was followed by a series of large and small aftershocks, including some above magnitude 5.0.
The United States Geological Survey Saturday said that the chance of another earthquake of a magnitude 5 or higher is greater than 99%, adding that as many as 11 such tremors could occur in the coming days.
The chance of an additional magnitude 6 earthquake is about 39% while the chance for another magnitude 7 or higher is 5%.
The agency estimated there will be “as few as 360 or as many as 660” aftershock tremors with a magnitude 3 or more in the upcoming week.
“Magnitude 3 and above are large enough to be felt near the epicenter,” the USGS Tweeted. “The number of aftershocks will drop off over time, but a large aftershock can increase the numbers again temporarily.”
Several thousand people were left without power Saturday following the quakes and a series of nat gas leaks were reported in the aftermath.
No fatalities or serious injuries have been reported from either quake, though the full extent of the damage is not yet clear. Responders had only just begun to observe the impacts Saturday morning.
The pair of earthquakes were the most powerful to strike the region since Y 1994, when a 6.7 magnitude tremor shook the heavily populated San Fernando Valley. It left 57 people dead and caused billions in damages.
Several people I know and talked to in SoCal are pensive this holiday weekend.