The ground shook on Independence Day in Southern California, but it wasn’t from an early fireworks show. A 6.4 magnitude quake hit 150 miles east of Los Angeles, rattling residents from Las Vegas to the ocean.
According to CNN, the earthquake struck around 10:30 a.m. Pacific on Thursday morning, and reports of rock slides and fires were still coming in by the afternoon. The epicenter of the quake was determined to be Ridgecrest, a small Mojave Desert city next to Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake.
The nearby community of Trona “sustained varying degrees of damage,” the San Bernardino County Fire District wrote on Twitter
They reported downed power lines, broken water mains, and rock slides.
The Los Angeles Times called it the “largest earthquake in decades” for Southern California, a region that saw several damaging quakes in the 1990s.
Dozens of aftershocks have been reported, and Caltech seismologist Lucy Jones said residents should expect many more with a “greater than 50-50” chance of an aftershock as big as a 5.5 magnitude quake.
Mark Leach was getting ready to head to an Independence Day barbecue when the tremors started, seeming to last as long as 30 seconds.
“About halfway through it I dashed out into the road completely freaking out,” he recalled. “You can see some cracking in the seams of the drywall and stuff was knocked off the shelves — books and CDs and stuff.”
The Kern County Fire Department said they were responding to multiple structure fires in Ridgecrest. They said the local hospital was also being evacuated.
President Trump was briefed on the quake. The LA Times concluded that the number of injuries and the amount of damage would have likely been far greater if the quake had been centered in an area not as sparsely populated as the Ridgecrest region.
Please pray for the people affected by the quake and for the safety of the emergency personnel who are responding!