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Biggest Quake in 20 Years Hits Southern California

Region braces for more aftershocks
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 4, 2019 3:19 PM CDT
Seismologist Lucy Jones discusses an earthquake during a news conference at the Caltech Seismological Laboratory in Pasadena on Thursday.   (AP Photo/John Antczak)

(Newser) – A strong earthquake rattled a large swath of Southern California and parts of Nevada on Thursday morning. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries but a swarm of aftershocks was reported. The 6.4 magnitude quake struck at 10:33am in the Mojave Desert, about 150 miles northeast of Los Angeles, near the town of Ridgecrest, the AP reports. It is the strongest quake to hit the region in 20 years. "It almost gave me a heart attack," said Cora Burke, a waitress at Midway Cafe in Ridgecrest, a town of 28,000 people. "It's just a rolling feeling inside the building, inside the cafe and all of a sudden everything started falling off the shelf, glasses, the refrigerator, and everything in the small refrigerator fell over." The Kern County Fire Department tweeted that it was responding to “nearly 2 dozen incidents ranging from medical assistance to structure fires in and around the city of Ridgecrest," per Los Angeles Times.

That quake won't be the end of it for the region. "We should be expecting lots of aftershocks," seismologist Lucy Jones told reporters at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. A vigorous aftershock sequence was occurring, Jones said, adding that the aftershocks Thursday could include a magnitude 5 quake. The temblor was relatively deep, per the Times, occurring more than five miles underground. It was felt from Las Vegas to the Pacific Ocean. Video posted online of a liquor store in Ridgecrest showed the aisles filled with broken wine and liquor bottles, knocked down boxes and other groceries strewn on the floor.

(Read more California earthquake stories.)

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