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6 Jul, 2019 12:58

California at risk of ‘even bigger earthquake’ after serious shocks

California at risk of ‘even bigger earthquake’ after serious shocks

California could be hit with a series of large earthquakes after the 7.1 magnitude quake that struck on Friday, and aftershocks could go on for years, a seismologist with the US Geological Survey has warned.

The south of the state was rocked by two earthquakes in as many days, with a 6.4-magnitude one hitting Ridgecrest on Thursday, the strongest in the state in over 20 years. Over 1,000 aftershocks have struck since. 

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“This is an earthquake sequence. It will be ongoing,” USGS seismologist Dr Lucy Jones told reporters Friday.

“There is about a one-in-twenty chance that this location will be having an even bigger earthquake within the next few days,” she reportedly added.

A state of emergency has been declared in the city of Ridgecrest as officials deal with damage and injuries sustained in the quake. The natural disaster ruptured gas lines, caused fires, water mains damage and knockouts to power and communications lines.

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When an aftershock is bigger than the main quake, the first quake is renamed as a foreshock, Jones explained. “A magnitude seven usually has aftershocks for years,” she warned. 

Friday’s earthquake was widely felt across Southern California, including greater Los Angeles, where shaking in some areas lasted about 40 seconds. Low-level rumbling extended as far north as the San Francisco Bay, beyond to Reno in neighboring Nevada, and as far east as Phoenix, Arizona.

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