Southern California was hit by an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.4 on July 4, the strongest in the last 20 years. It led to one city declaring a state of emergency, causing panic among citizens from Las Vegas to Orange County, reports CNN.

The earthquake was centred near Ridgecrest. Ridgecrest is city west of the Mojave Desert and about 150 miles north of Los Angeles. At least 159 aftershocks were recorded after the earthquake. These were of a magnitude of 2.5 or greater according to USGS Seismologist Robert Graves. The largest aftershock had a magnitude of 4.6.

More earthquakes in Southern California in the coming week?

Seismologist Lucy Jones said there is a 50% of another large earthquake within the next week. There might also be a 1 in 20 chance that a bigger earthquake will hit within the next few days. She said, “It’s certain that this area is going to be shaking a lot today and some of those aftershocks will probably exceed magnitude 5.” The quake has been named Searles Valley Quake. It was preceded by a 4.2 magnitude foreshock.

southern california earthquake
The 1994 earthquake in Northridge, Los Angeles killed 57 people.

City in Southern California declares a state of emergency

The community of Ridgecrest declared a state of emergency. The mayor, Peggy Breeden said, “As I understand, we have five fires. We have broken gas lines.” Footage from the area showed firefighters dousing rising flames from homes.

In Los Angeles, residents felt a long, rolling quake, and buildings rocked back and forth. Many noted that they felt the earthquake last longer than most. Celebrities living in LA took to Twitter to discuss the earthquake. Filmmaker Ava DuVernay tweeted, “Been living in Los Angeles all my life. That was the longest earthquake I’ve ever experienced. Not jerky. Smooth and rolling. But it was loooong. It was so long I thought for the first time ever, ‘Is this the big one?’ Damn. Respect Mother Nature. She’s the boss.”

This earthquake was the largest to hit Southern California since 1999. Back then, a 7.1 earthquake struck a remote part of the Mojave Desert. In 1994, nearly 57 people died when a 6.7 earthquake hit the Northridge neighbourhood of Los Angeles.

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