Another earthquake – on the heels of a 6.4 magnitude quake that struck Southern California – has hit the Ridgecrest, CA area on July 5, 2019. Preliminary reports say this quake was a massive 7.1 in magnitude, and it lasted for up to 40 seconds. The earthquake was felt as far away as Los Angeles, even causing shaking during an L.A. Dodgers game.
The earthquake was initially listed as having a 7.1 magnitude but was then downgraded to 6.9. It was then raised again to 7.1. CNN reported that “multiple fires and injuries” were reported in Ridgecrest.
Kern County Fire Chief David Witt reported July 6 that there were, thankfully, no deaths, major injuries or major collapses of buildings in Trona or Ridgecrest, the two hardest hit areas. Witt said there is damage, but authorities were still assessing the degree of it.
Kern County fire officials said in an evening news conference on July 5 they had they had no reports of major gas leaks. They said Highway 178 through the canyon is closed. “We have a lot of people who are here to help, and we’re taking action,” said Kern County California Fire Chief David Witt.
Authorities were doing a “systematic search of Ridgecrest for life and property,” Witt said, adding that they were fielding a lot of medical aid calls from that community. Witt said officials knew of no fatalities at this time. He did not give an estimate of injuries on the evening of July 5. “We are launching a lot of people,” he said. “We have a strike team of engines.”
Witt said there were many concerns – a dam, the potential for buildings collapsed, and the possibility of people trapped. But Witt said that officials had no reports at the moment of major building collapses. “The first part is finding where those buildings are…there are so many calls for help that we have a backlog of calls in the Ridgecrest area,” he said.
Authorities stressed in a midnight news conference that they aren’t sure the degree of damage in the communities of Ridgecrest and Trona. That’s because of nightfall, and they said they need to wait for morning to know for sure.
Mark Ghilarducci, Director of the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), said in a midnight press conference that the governor had asked the president for an emergency declaration. He said a number of injuries were reported, but he said he did not know the number yet. There were no fatalities reported yet, but authorities are not sure yet whether there were any. He said a “strike team of ambulances” was dispatched, in part because of falling debris.
According to Ghilarducci, the large quake of July 5 did “last for some time. It was felt widely throughout most of Southern California… the shaking intensity was very significant…it was at its highest level in and around China Lake and just adjacent to the town of Ridgecrest. We have significant reports of structural fires, mostly as a result of gas leaks or a line breaks throughout the city. There are also reports of water main breaks. Power is out. Communications are out to parts of the community…as well, in the town of Trona.” He said that was a “small community of about 2,000; there are reports of building collapses and power outages and gas leaks there as well.”
He said over 100 mutual aid personnel were dispatched in support. Trona and Ridgecrest are both very remotely located, he said, on the eastern side of the Sierra. “The roads have been impacted,” he said. “Getting resources into the area continues to be a challenge.”
Ironically, because of the earlier earthquake, a number of resources were already deployed. Huge priorities are for “medical support, firefighting and emergency power,” he said, adding that the quake happened around 8:20 p.m. “As the day breaks, we will be able to get a better assessment of the total amount of damage,” he said.
The Deputy Commissioner of the Highway Patrol said in the news conference that there were road closures, and authorities are checking the structural integrity of overpasses and the like. “The calls for service have dropped considerably,” he said around midnight. “When daylight comes, we will have a much better idea of what is needed.”
Major General David Baldwin, of the California National Guard, said that the military was mobilizing. There would be 200 sustainment troops and aviation assets, he said. “We’ve also alerted the remainder of the California military department… in the event that additional resources are required.” He said he’d also spoken with the Pentagon in case more help is needed.
CalFire officials said that CalFire is prepared to respond with any of the state’s resources that might be needed. Fire potential is pretty low for this weekend, they said.
Asked about his reaction to another quake, Witt said: “Feeling the earth move…we found out it was a 7.1 one. Realizing that was more significant than the one that was previous, we started launching a lot of equipment, even though we don’t know how much damage there is.”
The July 4 quake was already the largest in nearly 20 years, before it was bested by the one on July 5. “They’re saying the ground split,” said Winter Wilson, who was driving home to Trona from Bakersfield, to the Los Angeles Times. “They made me promise not to come.”
Rock slides and structure fires were reported in Kern County, CA.
“911 calls coming in from NW communities of #SBCounty. Homes shifted, foundation cracks, retaining walls down. One injury (minor) with firefighters treating patient. No unmet needs currently,” San Bernardino County Fire tweeted on July 5. According to KTLA, “the preliminary magnitude of tonight’s earthquake near the Searles Valley is now listed by the USGS as 6.9. The quake was far shallower than the previous 6.4-magnitude and 5.4-magnitude foreshocks in the same area.” (Again, the magnitude then was raised back to 7.1.)
Governor Gavin Newsom wrote: “In response to another large earthquake in Southern California tonight, I have activated the @Cal_OES state operation center to its highest level. The state is coordinating mutual aid to local first responders.” According to the Associated Press, the latest earthquake was centered “11 miles from Ridgecrest, a Mojave Desert town 150 miles (240 kilometres) away from Los Angeles.”
Authorities took to Twitter to warn residents in San Bernardino and Kern Counties, and in Los Angeles, to “drop! Cover! Hold on!”
Videos posted on social media captured shaking from the earthquake throughout Southern California.
Here’s what you need to know:
A Prominent Seismologist Says the July 4 Earthquake Was the ‘Foreshock’ of July 5th’s Quake
A prominent seismologist, Dr. Lucy Jones, now says that the earlier quake was just the precursor to the one tonight on July 5, 2019. “So the M6.4 was a foreshock. This was a M7.1 on the same fault as has been producing the Searles Valley sequence. This is part of the same sequence,” she wrote on Twitter. She added: “This is the same sequence. You know we say we 1 in 20 chance that an earthquake will be followed by something bigger? This is that 1 in 20 time.”
First, a magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck Southern California on the Fourth of July. That was followed by the bigger quake on July 5, 2019, with preliminary magnitude of 7.1. The center of the first quake was near Searles Valley in San Bernardino County. There were reports of people needing medical assistance and of damaged roadways and buildings on July 4. In Ridgecrest, in Kern County, CA, there were five fires and other damages, the mayor told CNN, about the earlier earthquake.
As for the July 5 quake, it “was centered at a depth of about a half mile, which is shallower than the earthquake that occurred on July 4,” according to the Weather Channel, and was felt “from San Diego to Las Vegas, and possibly into Mexico.”
According to CBS News, there were “around 1,400 aftershocks since Thursday’s 6.4-magnitude quake, with 17 of those with a magnitude of 4 or above.”
Even the Los Angeles Dodgers Felt the July 5 Earthquake
The Los Angeles Dodgers felt the effects of the July 5 quake, but the team kept playing. “Yes, another #earthquake. Reminder, only use 911 for emergencies. 877-ASK-LAPD for non emergencies in the City of LA. The LAPD will be working with our city partners to ensure everyone’s safety in the City of Los Angeles,” the Los Angeles Police Department wrote on the evening of July 5. The Dodgers even acknowledged the latest quake on their Twitter page. They weren’t the only sporting event affected.
The Los Angeles Fire Department wrote on Twitter, “#EarthquakeMode; INC#1497; 8:19PM; City of Los Angeles…Following widely felt #earthquake activity in the greater Los Angeles area, LAFD is according to protocol, in Earthquake Emergency.” LAFD also wrote: “Felt widely in #LosAngeles: Prepare For Aftershocks. When Shaking Starts: DROP, COVER, HOLD ON!”
As for damage, LAFD wrote on the evening of July 5: “We have word of wires down (never touch!) and *localized* power outages in several City of Los Angeles neighborhoods. Our citywide survey by @LAFD crews continues, but besides a handful of apparently small issues, NO major damage to infrastructure has been identified.”
As with the first quake, the 29,000-population community of Ridgecrest appears to be the hardest hit. Preliminary reports gave the following information: “A 7.1 magnitude earthquake occurred 10.56mi NNE of Ridgecrest, CA.” (Again, that magnitude was later downgraded slightly.)
“Significant aftershock felt throughout region. Station 57 (Trona) advises power out to entire community of Trona. Damage assessment underway with units patrolling communities,” wrote San Bernardino Fire.
Thankfully, there were no serious injuries from the earlier quake. The reports from the July 5 quake are still unfolding (and this post is being updated as they are.)
Since the first quake, a series of after shocks hit Southern California. An after-shock hit in the middle of a Kern County press conference shortly after the earlier quake. Watch:
The Ridgecrest, CA police chief said previously that authorities were “inundated with calls, with fires, obviously stores that were shaken with stuff falling off the shelves and various items falling…” Authorities reported multiple minor injuries in that community as a result of the earlier quake.
“I was laying down in my bed and I had my feet on the wall and I felt like both of the sides of the house were moving and shaking…” said Edith Mata, a student at Bakersfield College, to the Times about the previous earthquake.
According to the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program of the U.S. Geological Survey, the first quake had these attributes: “M 6.4 – 12km SW of Searles Valley, CA. 2019-07-04 17:33:48 (UTC) 35.705°N 117.508°W8.7 km depth.”
People Took to Twitter on July 5 to Report Feeling the Quake as Far Away as Los Angeles
People took to Twitter to report feeling the July 5 quake.