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Southern California struck by even more powerful quake, second in two days

A man looks into a fissure that opened in the desert during a powerful earthquake that struck Southern California, near the city of Ridgecrest, California, U.S., July 4, 2019. REUTERS/David McNew

The latest quake struck at about 8:20 p.m. local time (0320 GMT) near the town of Ridgecrest on the edge of Death Valley National Park, about 125 miles (202 km) northeast of Los Angeles, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). It was also measured at 7.1 by the European-Mediterranean Seismological Agency.

Lucy Jones, a seismologist for the California Institute of Technology (CalTech), said Friday’s quake was the most powerful to hit the region since another 7.1 temblor in the same area in 1999.

The San Bernadino County Fire Department reported that Friday’s quake had caused some damage to buildings.

“Homes shifted, foundation cracks, retaining walls down,” the department said on Twitter. “One injury (minor) with firefighters treating patient. No unmet needs currently.”

A swarm of strong aftershocks have jolted the high desert region of Southern California since a 6.4 quake on Thursday morning. Only a few injuries were reported in Thursday’s quake but two houses caught fire from broken gas pipes, officials said.

The USGS said Friday’s earthquake was about 11 times more forceful than Thursday’s tremor, which geologists described as a foreshock to the larger one.

The Metrolink commuter rail service said on Twitter it had halted service in Los Angeles, a city of 4 million people, for the time being in the immediate aftermath of the latest quake.

Pools in Los Angeles sloshed wildly and TV cameras at major league baseball’s Dodger Stadium were shaking as they filmed the night game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres.

Thursday’s quake hit during America’s Independence Day celebrations and was one of the largest in Southern California since the 1994 Northridge temblor.

The Northridge temblor, which was centered in a heavily populated area of Los Angeles, killed 57 people and caused billions of dollars of damage.

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