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Southern California earthquake shakes Kern County area

Image of the intensity map showing the epicenter of the earthquake near Ridgecrest, California on Thursday. Photo by U.S. Geological Survey
Image of the intensity map showing the epicenter of the earthquake near Ridgecrest, California on Thursday. Photo by U.S. Geological Survey

July 15 (UPI) -- A 4.6-magnitude earthquake struck near the Ridgecrest area of southern California near Kern County Thursday night, but there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

The earthquake struck about 6:20 p.m., PDT, about 8 miles northeast of Ridgecrest at a depth of about 4 miles, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

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More than 400 people reported to the USGS that they felt the earthquake. People commented on social media from Barstow and Victorville along with other nearby cities about the quake, according to KABC-TV.

In 2019, two earthquakes -- 6.4-magnitude and 7.1-magnitude -- hit the Ridgecrest area, bringing concerns of increased activity near the San Andres fault.

Those earthquakes were likely caused by stress along the Garlock Fault that links the Ridgecrest faults with the San Andreas fault, researchers from the Bulletin of Seismological Society of America said then.

Researchers said then a large earthquake in the area could rupture Garlock, causing a chain reaction that triggers a San Andreas earthquake north of Los Angeles. The probability of such a rupture remained low in 2019.

Last week, a 3.4-magnitude quake shook San Diego County near the U.S.-Mexico border. The quake struck about 6 miles northeast of Ocotillo Wells, Calif., at a depth of nearly 6 miles, the USGS said then. It followed a faint quake that was recorded farther north near San Clemente on Monday.

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