Another Big California Quake Caused Fires And Had News Anchors Going Under Their Desk On Live TV
The earthquake knocked food from supermarket shelves, pushed mobile homes off their foundations, and violently sloshed water inside backyard pools.
Southern California was rocked by a magnitude-7.1 earthquake late Friday night, just a day after the region experienced its strongest tremor in 20 years.
According to the US Geological Survey, Friday's earthquake hit at about 8:20 p.m. local time. It was centered in the Mojave Desert, around 11 miles from the city of Ridgecrest, where a magnitude-6.4 quake had hit as Californians celebrated the 4th of July.
"The quake did last for some time," said Mark Ghilarducci, director of the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services, about Friday's tremor. "It was felt widely throughout most of Southern California and even as far north here as Sacramento. The shaking intensity was very significant."
The earthquake knocked food from supermarket shelves, pushed mobile homes off their foundations, and violently sloshed water inside backyard pools. Rides at Disneyland came to a halt, while play was also stopped at a NBA summer league basketball game in Las Vegas. Some Ridgecrest residents spent the night outside, afraid to sleep indoors should another quake hit.
In Los Angeles, news anchors Juan Fernandez and Sara Donchey at the local CBS station were broadcasting live as Friday's quake hit.
“We’re experiencing very strong shaking," a visibly concerned Donchey told viewers as she and her colleague looked up at the rattling studio lights.
"I think we need to get under the desk.”
At Dodger Stadium, fans felt a long, rolling shake. Broadcasts of the game showed the cameras shaking in place.
The players didn't appear to notice what was going on and played through it.
In light of the events, Gov. Gavin Newsom declared states of emergency for both Kern and San Bernardino counties as the quakes damaged homes and infrastructure. The governor also made a formal request for federal assistance.
Ghilarducci said Ridgecrest and the town of Trona both reported fires from gas leaks, damaged roads, and thousands without power.
"The damage that we are seeing this morning in the light is not as extensive as one could have expected," he told reporters at a Saturday briefing.
Ghilarducci said there had been a "number of injuries," which he categorized as minor to moderate. There have been no reports of fatalities, he said.
"I think we're very lucky there and happy there wasn't anything else," he said.
Friday's earthquake was followed by more than a dozen smaller aftershocks that continued to rattle residents.
Roughly 200 people sought refuge during the night in a Ridgecrest shelter run by the Red Cross, too afraid to reenter their homes.
"It was bad," Ridgecrest resident Jeremiah Jones told the Los Angeles Times. "Man, it hasn’t stopped yet.
“All the expensive stuff was secure, but everything off the cabinets and fridge and drawers, closets — everything was thrown everywhere,” he said. “I have a lot to do right now.”
Leena Panchal, a hotel manager in Ridgecrest, told the New York Times that people raced outdoors when the quake hit because of safety fears of being indoors.
“It was so bad,” she said. “I am scared. I have two children and no one is taking care of us.”
The Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, a weapons testing facility outside Ridgecrest, said on its Facebook page that it had sustained damage: "NAWS China Lake is not mission capable until further notice; however, security protocols remain in effect."
Seismologists warned there could be further quakes to hit the region.
"Like any quake, today's M7.1 has a 1 in 20 of being followed by something even bigger," Caltech seismologist Lucy Jones said on Twitter. "Smaller quakes - M5s are likely and a M6 is quite possible."
Jones said the two large temblors were located on the same fault system and were part of the same earthquake sequence.
"It is clearly a very energetic sequence, so there's no reason to think that we can't have more large earthquakes," she told reporters Friday night, adding that earthquakes of magnitude 7.0 "usually have aftershocks that last for years."
In Los Angeles, which is located about 150 miles south of Ridgecrest, residents wondered whether a new smartphone app designed to warn users of an impending quake had failed after they did not receive alerts on their phones Thursday.
But city and USGS officials said the app was working properly, explaining that it only sends alerts if shaking in Los Angeles County is magnitude 5.0 or greater.
On Friday, officials said they would lower the threshold for the notifications.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said on Twitter that there were no reports of serious damage to his city following Friday's quake.
The mayor said LA would send a search and rescue task force to Kern County closer to the epicenter of the quake.