Second earthquake to hit California is the strongest in 20 years

Cracks can be seen on a highway north of Ridgecrest after a 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit the region.

Cracks can be seen on a highway north of Ridgecrest after a 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit the region. Photo: Getty

Pools sloshed into backyards, chandeliers swung ominously above shaking diners, and food smashed onto the floor.

Californians thought the worst of an earthquake was over, but then came another – more powerful – quake to interrupt the start of their weekend.

The second wave of tremors to hit the region were so strong that homes shifted, buildings were damaged and foundations cracked at the quake’s centre, about 18 kilometres from the Mojave Desert town.

It initially measured 7.1 on the Richter scale – a day after a 6.4 quake hit the same region on Thursday night (local time). An already nervous population braced for aftershocks.

Some people were so scared they slept on the street, US media reported.

While no one was reported killed, authorities were treating some residents for minor injuries, and firefighters were battling two house fires.

Nearly 2000 people were left without power.

Donald Castle, who lives in the town of Porterville, told CNN his house shook for nearly 25 seconds.
“It was more of a shake than what we had on the Fourth (of July),” Mr Castle said.
“It lasted longer and was more rolling.”

Locals reported feeling a rolling jolt that lasted for more than 30 seconds, sending choppy waves across backyard pools and causing lights to swing.

Kern County Fire Chief David Witt said there had been no immediate reports of building collapses or deaths.

“We know of no fatalities,” Chief Witt told US media.

“There have been a lot of ambulance calls for help.”

Tremors were felt as far as central Los Angeles and the Coachella Valley, even rattling furniture in Las Vegas.

Hours earlier, seismologists had said the earlier quake had been followed by more than 1700 aftershocks and that they might continue for years.

However, that quake would now be considered a ‘foreshock’ to the Friday night tremor.

Damage from Thursday’s quake appeared limited to desert areas, although the quake was felt widely.

The largest aftershock – magnitude 5.4 – was also felt in Los Angeles before dawn on Friday.

The series of earthquakes prompted a big response on social media, with some shocked at the impact of the tremors and others making light of the unusual event.

-with AAP

Topics: Earthquakes
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