California Governor Declares State of Emergency After 7.1 Earthquake Hits
No deaths are reported but California Assesses Damage After Second Powerful Earthquake Hits.
A magnitude 7.1 earthquake rocked southern California Friday night, sending tremors that could be felt in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and nearly 400 miles north in Sacramento. The quake caused fires, power outages and collapsed buildings, officials said.
The powerful quake struck around 8:20 p.m. local time and was centered near Ridgecrest, Calif., a community of 29,000 people on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada where a 6.4 temblor had hit Thursday morning. The latest quake lasted about 30 seconds and was the strongest in Southern California in 20 years. A series of aftershocks followed.
There is a 9% chance that an even more powerful earthquake could come over the next week, said Mark Benthien, spokesman for the Southern California Earthquake Center at the University of Southern California.
Typically you don’t see that type of escalation, but it’s possible,” he said. That estimate was made by the U.S. Geological Survey, he said.
The 7.1 magnitude earthquake on Friday was 11 times stronger than the 6.4 magnitude quake that hit on Thursday, Mr. Benthien said.
USGS said in a statement Saturday that millions of people in the region felt the shaking from the latest quake. The federal agency said it issued a red alert for economic losses from the quake, estimating the financial toll to be at least $1 billion. Past events with this alert level have required a national- or international-level response, according to the USGS.
Friday’s quake rocked buildings in Los Angeles, interrupted a Los Angeles Dodgers game and led Disneyland to evacuate rides.
Had the earthquake hit a large population center, the economic losses would have been in the tens or hundreds of billions of dollars.
The earthquake may give the Fed an additional excuse to cut rates later this month.