LOS ANGELES (AP) — An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.1 has jolted Southern California and Nevada. Authorities are now reporting injuries and damage.
The quake cracked buildings, set fires, broke roads and caused several injuries in California while seismologists warned that large aftershocks were expected to continue. In Las Vegas, lights swung and pools sloshed, but there were no reports of significant damage.
The quake — preceded by Thursday’s 6.4-magnitude temblor in the Mojave Desert — was the largest Southern California quake in at least 20 years and was followed by a series of large and small aftershocks, including a handful above magnitude 5.0.
There is about a 1-in-10 chance that another 7.0 quake could hit within the next week, said Lucy Jones, a seismologist at the California Institute of Technology and a former science adviser at the U.S. Geological Survey.
The chance of a 5.0-magnitude quake “is approaching certainty,” she added.
However, the quake was unlikely to affect fault lines outside of the area, Jones said, noting that the gigantic San Andreas Fault was far away.
The quake struck at 8:19 p.m. and was centered 11 miles from Ridgecrest in the same areas where the previous quake hit.
“These earthquakes are related,” Jones said, adding that the new quake probably ruptured along about 25 miles of fault line.
Kern County fire officials reported “multiple injuries and multiple fires” without providing details. San Bernardino County firefighters reported cracked buildings and a minor injury.
The quake was felt in downtown Los Angeles as a rolling motion that seemed to last at least a half-minute. It was felt as far away as Las Vegas, and the USGS says it also was felt in Mexico.
If the preliminary magnitude is correct, it would be the largest Southern California quake in 20 years.