The US state of California has been shaken by its most powerful earthquake since 1999, Thursday 4th July 2019. It has made a few minor injuries but no major damage.
In the west of the United States, the state of California was shaken Thursday 4th July 2019 by a quake of magnitude 6.4 , the most powerful earthquake to hit this region since 1999. It made some “light injuries” but no major damage, according to the first reports communicated by the relief.
President Donald Trump was reassuring two hours after the disaster. “Have been fully informed about the earthquake in Southern California. Everything seems to be largely under control, “he reacted on Twitter.
Felt in a vast area, this earthquake has revived the spectre of “Big One”, a potentially devastating mega-earthquake feared in the American West.
Near a military base
The epicentre was located in the Searles Valley area of southern California, a sparsely urbanized area about 240 km northeast of Los Angeles, according to data updated by the Institute of State Geophysics. United States (USGS).
The depth of the earthquake was estimated at 10.7 kilometres.
The epicentre is near the small town of Ridgecrest (population 28,000) and a US Navy military base, the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, a vast desert area where bombs and missiles are tested.
An official at the base told AFP that there were “fires, water leaks, leaks of dangerous products” but the commander-in-chief Paul Dale later assured at a conference of Ridgecrest told them that his men “continued to assess the damage.” He did not want to give more details.
Kern County Fire Chief David Witt, where Ridgecrest is located, reported “very, very light injuries”, mainly related to windows shattered by the shock or falling objects or shelves in stores.
The emergency services was not able to give a precise figure.
A fire chief said at the press conference that many reinforcements, men and equipment, arrived in the area in the afternoon to be able to react in case of strong replication.
Ridgecrest Mayor Peggy Breeden said the city’s hospital was evacuated “as a precaution”.
“There is electricity in some parts of the city, but not in others,” she added, noting that the gas had to be cut due to pipes damaged by the earthquake.
According to firefighters, electricity was restored in many neighbourhoods around 15h and “no serious injuries” was recorded.
Witnesses interviewed by American TVs told how jolts opened drawers, dropped televisions and especially caused panic among many residents.
The main tremor, which occurred at 10:33 (17:33 GMT) according to the USGS, was followed by nearly a hundred other weaker replicas.
The earthquake was clearly felt in Los Angeles, for about ten seconds, according to AFP journalists there.
“I have always lived in Los Angeles. It was the longest earthquake I’ve ever felt, “tweeted director Ava DuVernay.
No damage was reported in the Californian megalopolis, where residents continued as their usual activities on July 4, a national holiday of the United States and thus a holiday.
The firefighters have finished their assessment and “Los Angeles is in great shape,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti.
“Hundreds of earthquakes”
California is the most populous state in America, but the epicentre of the earthquake has been located in the Mojave Desert, a large, sparsely populated area.
“There have been hundreds of earthquakes today (Thursday)”, some of which exceed magnitude 4, said at a press briefing the seismologist Lucy Jones, referring to a “large number of aftershocks”.
The specialist confirmed it was the strongest shock in southern California since 1999. According to the Los Angeles Times, this is a magnitude 7.1 earthquake that affected the Twentynine area Palms that year.
Lucy Jones said the earthquake did not occur along the famous San Andreas Fault, where experts fear a major earthquake that could cause chaos in Los Angeles and along the coast.
Thursday’s earthquake zone is “a region with lots of small but not big flaws” like the one in San Andreas, she explained.