A 7.1-magnitude earthquake rattled Southern California on Friday night, one day after the strongest recorded quake there in 20 years struck and seismologists warned that further episodes are expected.
The United States Geological Survey reported that the latest earthquake’s epicenter was in the Mojave Desert, 11 miles from Ridgecrest, Calif. — near where a 6.4-magnitude quake had hit about 36 hours earlier.
Since Thursday’s earthquake, the area had been jolted by a series of rolling aftershocks, including one of a 5.4-magnitude that roused Californians on Friday morning.
Although the area where the earthquake struck is sparsely populated, the navy has a weapons testing facility just outside Ridgecrest, the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake.
“It’s constant,” said Ms. Alexander, whose hotel in Ridgecrest is less than a five-minute drive from the naval station. “My anxiety level is over the limit.”
“The floor is cracked,” she added, saying that bookshelves, lockers and televisions were thrown to the ground.
The quake, which struck at about 8:20 p.m. local time, was felt across a much wider area than Thursday’s, with reports of power failures in Los Angeles, and of some damage in San Bernardino County. It was also felt in Las Vegas, though the Nevada Highway Patrol had received no reports of damage to roads or bridges.
Mick Gleason, the supervisor of Kern County, which includes Ridgecrest, said that some people had been injured but that no deaths had been reported, according to NY Times.
Tom Heaton, an earthquake expert at the California Institute of Technology, said the earthquake Friday night appeared to have taken place northwest of Thursday’s earthquake. The rupture was about 10 to 15 miles long, and the duration of the earthquake was around seven seconds. Friday’s earthquake was much larger than Thursday’s; the total energy released was about eight times greater.
For now the earthquakes appear to be localized. There is “no plausible connection” between these earthquakes and the San Andreas, the larger and potentially more destructive fault that runs from the Gulf of California to well north of San Francisco, Dr. Heaton said.
The largest known earthquake in the area occurred in 1872 and was a magnitude 8, one of the largest in California.