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7.1-magnitude earthquake rattles Southern California

By Sommer Brokaw
1/3
7.1-magnitude earthquake rattles Southern California
An employee stands behind the counter amid fallen bottles that smashed on the ground after an earthquake at a gas station and liquor store in Ridgecrest, California, was hit by a 7.1-magnitude earthquake Friday night. Photo by Etienne Laurent/EPA

July 6 (UPI) -- A 7.1-magnitude earthquake has hit Southern California, marking a second big quake since Thursday.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported the 7.1 magnitude earthquake at 8:19 p.m. PDT Friday with a shallow depth of about 10.6 miles. The epicenter was 11 miles from from Ridgecrest and 150 miles north of Los Angeles.

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Power outages and injuries were being reported throughout the Kern County area.

"We do know there were a number of injuries, but most of them I would characterize in the minor to moderate level," CalOES director Mark Guilarducci said Saturday. "And no report of any fatalities.I think we're very lucky there and happy they weren't any worse."

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Shaking was felt in central and southern California, southern Nevada and as far south as Mexico, according to the USGS.

The quake caused caused some fires around Mojave Desert towns Ridgecrest and Trona already rattled by the 6.4-magnitude quake Thursday, Mark Ghilarducci, director of the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services said.

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The Los Angeles Fire Department reported that no major infrastructure damage occurred in the city, but there were localized power outages.

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With no damage reported at Los Angeles Airport, no delays have been reported there, but several Metrolink train lines in Southern California have been delayed as crews inspect tracks for damage.

Kern County Fire Chief David Witt said there were no fatalities. His department responded to multiple structural fires.

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency early Saturday for San Bernadino County and had activated the state Operations Center in Mather, Calif, late Friday to its highest level.

San Bernadino County Fire said that as a result of the earthquake there were "homes shifted, foundation cracks, retaining walls down." There was also one minor injury, which firefighters treated.

The New York Knicks and New Orleans Pelicans NBA Summer League game in Las Vegas was suspended in the fourth quarter as shaking was felt inside the arena.

Similar to Thursday's quake, it was centered in the Mojave Desert near Ridgecrest, Calif., though it was a little bit farther away from Los Angeles, and it was the the largest to hit the area in 20 years.

Before Friday night, the last 7.1-magnitude earthquake to hit the Mojave Desert was in 1999.

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Thursday's earthquake was followed by 5.4-magnitude aftershock early Friday, and caused mostly minor injuries, fires and damaged homes.

Friday night's earthquake "occurred as a result of shallow strike slip faulting in the crust of the North America plate," according to the USGS.

It was 10 times larger than Thursday's quake, according to Lucy Jones, a Caltech seismologist, who said "the fault is growing," and given its size, it's likely more shaking will follow.

"The largest aftershock, on average, to a 7.1 would be a magnitude 6," Jones said, which means another 6.4 temblor "would not be surprising to anybody."

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