No deaths re­ported af­ter 7.1 earth­quake rocks Ridgecrest, state

Shock waves go all di­rec­tions: Sacra­mento, Phoenix, Mex­ico

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Front Page - BY BRYANT-JON ANTEOLA, DANIEL HUNT AND NOEL HAR­RIS bjan­te­[email protected]­

For the second con­sec­u­tive day, a ma­jor earth­quake shook South­ern Cal­i­for­nia and was felt far be­yond, stop­ping the NBA’s Sum­mer League games in Las Ve­gas, forc­ing the evac­u­a­tion of rides at Dis­ney­land in Ana­heim, and re­mind­ing res­i­dents that the state is al­ways on un­sta­ble ground and des­tined for more.

It reg­is­tered a mag­ni­tude of 7.1 on Fri­day night and was the strong­est earth­quake to hit the state in two decades, caus­ing fires in the small town of Ridgecrest (pop­u­la­tion 29,000), and send­ing shock waves than 300 miles away in all di­rec­tions – Sacra­mento, Phoenix, Mex­ico.

Ac­cord­ing to the U.S. Ge­o­log­i­cal Sur­vey, the quake hit at 8:19 p.m., 11 miles north-north­east of Ridgecrest, near where a mag­ni­tude 6.4 quake hit Thurs­day morn­ing, but was more shal­low. It was fol­lowed by nearly 100 af­ter­shocks, some of which were mag­ni­tude 4.0 or higher across the Sear­les Val­ley, an area strad­dling Inyo, Kern and San Bernardino coun­ties.

Fri­day’s quake caused at least four struc­ture fires, dam­age to roads and some mi­nor in­juries in Ridgecrest and the sur­round­ing area, which was al­ready try­ing to re­cover from the pre­vi­ous tem­blor.

“It’s hard for the world to know what we’ve been through,” Ridgecrest Po­lice Chief Jed McLaughlin told re­porters Satur­day morn­ing. “By the grace of God, we’ve had no causal­i­ties.”

Mark Ghi­lar­ducci, direc­tor of the state Of­fice of Emer­gency Ser­vices, said at a Satur­day news con­fer­ence there were nu­mer­ous re­ports in Ridgecrest of fires, mostly the re­sult of gas leaks, but dam­age to the area was min­i­mal and there were no fa­tal­i­ties. Of­fi­cials said there

were in­juries from “falling de­bris,” although they did not pro­vide a num­ber.

He said the hard­est hit area was the town of Trona, 20 miles north­east of Ridgecrest in San Bernardino County. Of­fi­cials were hav­ing a dif­fi­cult time get­ting to the town of 1,500 peo­ple be­cause of dam­aged roads, he said.

Of most con­cern was the Sear­les Val­ley Min­er­als plant, the town’s main em­ployer and a man­u­fac­turer of bo­rax ma­te­ri­als and other com­pounds used in cleansers, soaps and other in­dus­trial uses.

Power that was knocked out in the quake was re­stored in the Ridgecrest area, but Ghi­lar­ducci said elec­tric­ity in Trona re­mained mostly out.

Also sig­nif­i­cantly af­fected was the Naval Air Weapons Sta­tion China Lake, a sprawl­ing weapons fa­cil­ity near Ridgecrest, although de­tails were sparse.

“NAWS China Lake is not mis­sion ca­pa­ble un­til fur­ther no­tice,” ac­cord­ing to a Face­book post by naval base of­fi­cials.

Of­fi­cials were still work­ing to as­sess the dam­age but were chal­lenged by the area’s re­mote­ness.

“We do feel like there is dam­age but we don’t know the ex­tent of it yet,” Kern County Fire Chief David Witt said at the emer­gency op­er­a­tions cen­ter in Bak­ers­field. “No­body was trapped, no ma­jor col­lapses that we know of. But we’re out there search­ing.”

High­way 178, the ma­jor high­way through the area, suf­fered sig­nif­i­cant dam­age and was closed for sev­eral hours in and around the high desert com­mu­ni­ties, ac­cord­ing to Cal­trans. Rock slides had oc­curred in the canyon be­tween Bak­ers­field and Lake Is­abella, clos­ing the high­way there. Of­fi­cials strongly urged mo­torists to avoid the Kern Canyon area on Satur­day morn­ing.

State of­fi­cials said more than 100 mu­tual aid per­son­nel were dis­patched to the scene from Los An­ge­les, San Bernardino and Fresno coun­ties, among oth­ers. Some were al­ready in the area from Thurs­day’s quake and had been re­leased shortly be­fore Fri­day’s quake.

The Cal­i­for­nia Na­tional Guard said a joint task force was be­ing de­ployed with about 200 se­cu­rity forces and mil­i­tary air­craft.

Ghi­lar­ducci said mul­ti­ple state re­sources, as well as of­fi­cials from the Fed­eral Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency, were work­ing to as­sist in dis­as­ter re­lief, not­ing that more earth­quakes were ex­pected.

“This is not some­thing that’ll be over right away,” he said.

The sever­ity of the quake was nearly twice the in­ten­sity of the 1989 Loma Pri­eta quake that struck in 1989, which


killed 63 and dam­aged many struc­tures in San Fran­cisco, in­clud­ing the Bay Bridge.

Shak­ing was widely felt, though not as in­tense, in the Los An­ge­les area, about 110 miles from the epi­cen­ter. There were no re­ports of in­juries or dam­age, city of­fi­cials said.

The earth­quake was felt in Sacra­mento, as well as Stockton and Marysville. The quake was felt as far east as Phoenix and south to Mex­ico, ac­cord­ing to the USGS. In Las Ve­gas, NBA Sum­mer League action was halted af­ter the quake as speak­ers above the court swayed for more than 10 min­utes at Thomas & Mack Cen­ter.

Lucy Jones, a seis­mol­o­gist at the Cal­i­for­nia Institute of Tech­nol­ogy and a former sci­ence ad­viser at USGS, said at a news con­fer­ence Fri­day night that more strong earth­quakes in this se­ries of quakes were likely to happen in the next week.

“We’re hav­ing a ro­bust se­quence,” she said from the Cal­tech Seis­mo­log­i­cal Lab­o­ra­tory in Pasadena. “There’s no rea­son to think it’s go­ing to be stop­ping.”

Of­fi­cials said that in the four hours af­ter the shak­ing started, the fault area had four earth­quakes greater than mag­ni­tude 5, 20 quakes in the mag­ni­tude 4 range and more than 50 quakes from 3.0 to 3.9. Jones said Fri­day’s 7.1 earth­quake was trig­gered by Thurs­day’s quake, which sci­en­tists now con­sider a fore­shock.

“These earth­quakes are re­lated,” she said, adding that the new quake prob­a­bly rup­tured along about 25 miles of fault line.

Jones and oth­ers sci­en­tists said more shak­ing was a cer­tainty in the next week: “The chance of some­thing over (mag­ni­tude) 6 is 50 per­cent.”

How­ever, the quake was un­likely to affect fault lines or re­gions out­side of the Ridgecrest area, Jones said, not­ing that the gi­gan­tic San Andreas Fault was far away.

In declar­ing a state emer­gency for Kern and San Bernardino coun­ties, Gov. Gavin New­som said state re­sources, in­clud­ing the state OES, were mon­i­tor­ing the sit­u­a­tion and as­sist­ing lo­cal emer­gency per­son­nel.

“In re­sponse to another large earth­quake in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia tonight, I have ac­ti­vated the ... state op­er­a­tion cen­ter to its high­est level,” New­som wrote in a Twit­ter post. “And the state is co­or­di­nat­ing mu­tual aid to lo­cal first re­spon­ders.”

New­som said Satur­day morn­ing he asked for a pres­i­den­tial emer­gency dec­la­ra­tion for fed­eral money and re­sources.

More earth­quakes had been ex­pected af­ter the July 4 quake in Ridgecrest was felt across a wide swath of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia. Hours ear­lier, seis­mol­o­gists had said that quake had been fol­lowed by more than 1,700 af­ter­shocks and that they might con­tinue for years.

“The po­ten­tial for danger can’t be un­der­es­ti­mated, and res­i­dents of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia must be pre­pared in case there are fur­ther, more dan­ger­ous quakes,” Sen. Dianne Fe­in­stein, D-Calif., said in pre­pared re­marks.

ROBERT GAUTHIER Los An­ge­les Times

Ron­nie Tol­bert, left, and her hus­band Danny, sleep on mat­tresses Satur­day in the front yard of their home in Trona, Calif., that was se­verely dam­aged in a 7.1 mag­ni­tude earth­quake Fri­day night. Elec­tric­ity was re­stored in Ridgecrest but in Trona it re­mained mostly out.

ERIC PAUL ZAMORA [email protected]­

Leah Weems, left, leaves with a free pizza as Jose Poblano, right, waits in line as Ridgecrest cus­tomers line up for free pizza at Lit­tle Cae­sars pizza Satur­day, July 6, 2019 in Ridgecrest. Fran­chise owner Johnny Bak­lini said he de­cided to of­fer one free pep­per­oni pizza per per­son to Ridgecrest ci­ti­zens to help deal with earth­quakes.


Ron Miku­laco, left, with his nephew Brad Fer­nan­dez, gets a close look at a crack caused by an earth­quake on High­way 178 Satur­day near Ridgecrest. Crews as­sessed dam­age from Sacra­mento to Las Ve­gas to Mex­ico.

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