Many California residents got a 4th of July surprise in the form of a magnitude 6.4 earthquake. Communities such as Ridgecrest (150 miles north of Los Angeles) reported very strong shaking and even declared a state of emergency, which was later echoed by the Governor of California.
Felt as far away as Los Angeles and Las Vegas, over 50,000 people have reported feeling the quake on the USGS online portal. As a whole, the quake was surely felt by hundreds of thousands of residents. The estimated economic losses appear to be non-severe, but Southern California towns continue to assess the damage with aftershocks continuing. To make matters worse, another even larger M 7.1 earthquake occurred Friday evening causing more structure fires, damage and injuries. Seismologists have reported over 2000 aftershocks have already occurred and more are expected.
The region’s strongest 2 earthquakes in 2 decades “will continue to produce aftershocks for years” according to Cal Tech geophysicist Zach Ross. Cracked roads, fires and gas leaks have been common place near the epicenter of the seismic activity and many personal accounts and videos are surfacing all over social media.
The Hospital in Ridgecrest is closed and is expected to remain that way for up to a week. While the emergency room is set up to for triage and treatment, this is a blunt reminder of how unavailable essential services can be following a major earthquake. This is why it’s important to have a household emergency plan and an earthquake kit filled with enough supplies to last you for a minimum of 3 days.
Close to home, here in BC, we’ve experienced a stark reminder of our own with a series of earthquakes measuring between 4.5 and 5.6 magnitude occurring over the past couple of days.