7.1 magnitude earthquake hits Southern California, marks second in two days

(Aileen Nguyen/Graphics editor)

A 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck Southern California on Friday around 8:19 p.m., according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The earthquake comes on the heels of a 6.4 magnitude earthquake Thursday, which seismologist Lucy Jones identified in a tweet as a foreshock to Friday’s quake.

Long Beach, California, experienced power outages, downed wires, traffic signal failures and transformer fires due to Friday’s earthquake, according to a tweet from the Long Beach Fire Department.

The Ventura County Fire Department also reported in a tweet that Fillmore, California, experienced a power outage and some docks in the Channel Islands Harbor were dislodged.

The Los Angeles Fire Department reported no major damage to infrastructure and no serious injuries or deaths that could be attributed to Friday’s earthquake, according to a tweet from the Los Angeles City Emergency Management Department.

The Thursday earthquake struck at 10:33 a.m. about 7.5 miles southwest of Searles Valley, California, and about 122 miles north of Los Angeles, according to the USGS. Ridgecrest, California, experienced several emergency situations that arose due to the earthquake and shaking was felt as far as Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Diego.

Jonathan Stewart, a civil and environmental engineering professor at The Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, said he was in Ridgecrest at the time of the Friday earthquake. Stewart said he was leading a Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance team, which was collecting data related to the earthquakes.

“We had just left our hotel room and were standing in the parking lot to go get dinner, and we got a heck of a ride,” Stewart said.

Stewart said an earthquake with an epicenter in a location such as Ridgecrest is unlikely to affect Los Angeles or its residents in any substantial way. However, he said the probability of an earthquake of a similar magnitude striking near Los Angeles is high.

“When we look over a timeline of several decades, we find that an earthquake in the mid-six to low-seven magnitude range that strikes near Los Angeles is pretty likely, especially with all the faults that we have,” Stewart said. “There’s also a high probability of a much bigger earthquake striking the San Andreas fault east of LA, which would really impact us.”


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