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California rocked by Magnitude 7.1 earthquake

Saturday, July 6th 2019, 1:44 pm - Seismologists say the tremor is part of an 'earthquake sequence,' and more quakes are likely.

California was rocked by a new, more powerful earthquake Friday night, with numerous reports of fires, gas leaks and injuries in the tremor's immediate aftermath.

The earthquake, rated Magnitude 7.1 by the U.S. Geological Survey, struck around 8:19 p.m. local time, at a relatively shallow depth of 17 km, making it more likely to be felt on the surface compared to deeper earthquakes.

Despite its location in the state's interior, near the town of Ridgecrest, it was felt relatively widely across the region, with shaking reported in Los Angeles, some 200 km away.

Cali quake

The worst damage was reported in the communities around the quake's epicentre, with several structure fires due to gas leaks reported in Ridgecrest itself, according to CNN. Though several people have been injured, there are no reported fatalities as yet.

In San Bernadino County, cracked foundations have been reported, with some retaining wall collapses. One town, Trona, is without power or water.

In Los Angeles, no major damage was reported, and only shaking was experienced, though the Los Angeles County Fire Department reported some power lines down.

California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in Kern County, where Ridgecrest is located, not long after Thursday's quake, and made a similar declaration for San Bernadino County after Friday night's quake.

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This is the second major quake to strike the state in recent days. A Magnitude 6.4 tremor on Thursday morning, also not far from Ridgecrest, caused widespread shaking and some damage.

That quake was the most powerful to hit the state since 1994. The latest tremor seems to have gone one better, being the strongest since 1992.

Numerous aftershocks have been reported, and USGS seismologist Dr. Lucy Jones said the recent quakes were part of an 'earthquake sequence' that would likely continue.

"Every earthquake makes another earthquake more likely," Jones told a press conference (as reported by the BBC), adding that there was a 10 per cent chance of another similar or stronger quake striking in the coming week.

Check back for updates on this ongoing story.

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