Powerful 7.1 earthquake hits US state of California
A powerful magnitude 7.1 earthquake hit the US state of California on Friday, a day after the strongest quake in the region in 25 years.
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The quake hit the town of Ridgecrest on the edge of Death Valley National Park 202 km (125 miles) northeast of Los Angeles, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).
It was also measured at 7.1 by the European-Mediterranean Seismological Agency.
Authorities say the earthquake has caused injuries, sparked fires, shut roads and shaken ball games and theme parks.
Kern County Fire Chief David Witt says there have been no reported fatalities.
A swarm of strong aftershocks have jolted Southern California since a 6.4 quake on Thursday.
Only a few injuries were reported in Thursday’s quake but two houses caught fire from broken gas pipes, officials said.
Thursday’s quake during America’s Independence Day celebrations was the largest in Southern California since the 1994 magnitude 6.6 Northridge earthquake, USGS geophysicist Paul Caruso said.
That quake, which was centered in a heavily populated area of Los Angeles, killed 57 people and caused billions of dollars of damage.
It comes as California was bracing for the much feared “big one” earthquake which has been predicted for decades.
Seismologists have said California is due for another massive earthquake that would cause significant damage, but just when such a quake would strike is unpredictable.
Californians have feared a gigantic earthquake for more than a century after San Francisco was reduced to rubble in 1906 by a magnitude 7.9 earthquake and subsequent fire that killed thousands of people.