4th of July is supposed to be filled with lots of fun, but people in Southern California might have a different take now as the region was hit by an earthquake, measuring 6.5 on the Richter scale, Thursday morning at 10:33 am (local time). After the primary jolt, several aftershocks kept people on their feet.
This is the strongest earthquake to hit the region in over 20 years. The last time something like this happened was way back in 1994, when the San Fernando Valley in Southern California was jolted by a 6.7-magnitude earthquake. It caused widespread damage, amounting to billions of dollars due to collapsed buildings, and it also led to 57 deaths.
Thursday’s earthquake had its epicentre near the small town of Ridgecrest near Death Valley National Park, around 160 km (100 miles) from Los Angeles. There were reports of the tremors being felt in LA as well as Las Vegas, though no serious collateral damage or human injury was reported anywhere.
Lucy Jones, a renowned seismologist working at California Institute of Technology (CalTech) told reporters that her lab received the warning less than 50 seconds before it happened. She has further warned that severer aftershocks could be in the offing in the next 24 hours.
“Bigger earthquakes last for a longer time. The fault was producing energy for about 5 seconds. What you feel is that plus reverberations.”, she tweeted.
Resounding the warning, a seismologist at the University of Southern California (USC), John Vidale, said that had the earthquake hit LA, it could have been disastrous. “It’s a big enough earthquake to cause considerable damage.”, he said, further adding that “If this had hit in Los Angeles, there would probably be a five or 10-mile area that was badly damaged. We’ve come a long way since the 1970s, but there are still a lot of vulnerable structures out there.”