6.4-magnitude earthquake hits Southern California

LOS ANGELES — A 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck 12 kilometers southwest of Searles Valley in the US state of California (17:33:48 GMT) on Thursday, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said.

The epicenter, with a depth of 8.68 km, was initially determined to be at 35.70 degrees north latitude and 117.51 degrees west longitude.

The quake was felt across the Los Angeles region on Thursday morning, 272 kilometers south of the epicenter.

Many local residents tweeted that they felt the shakes and steady sways, which lasted for almost 30 seconds but not so strong like in 1994. So far, there is no report of casualties.

“At this time, the LAPD has not received any reports of damage or calls for service within the City of Los Angeles related to the #earthquake. Remember, 911 is only to report emergencies. This was a strong one, and a good reminder to be prepared,” the Los Angeles Police Department tweeted about half hour after the major earthquake.

A video clip posted by a twitter user named Zomo showed that her father’s liquor store in Ridgercrest, a small town located 18 kilometers southwest of the Searles Valley, was rocked by the earthquake with bottles falling to the ground from the shelf and alcohol liquid splashing everywhere.

Structure fires also occurred in Ridgecrest, videos posted online showed.

In San Bernardino County, the quake broke water mains, downed power lines, cracked buildings and caused rock slides on roads, local ABC 7 news channel reported.

Seismologist Dr. Lucy Jones from California Institute of Technology explained at a news conference Thursday noon that the Fourth of July quakes’ damage is limited since the epicenter was in a remote area.

But she warned that aftershocks would likely exceed magnitude 5.

“We will continue to have a lot of aftershocks. I think the chance of having a magnitude 5… it’s probably greater than 50-50,” Jones said.

Dozens of quakes have been recorded by the USGS near Searles Valley after the major one, which is the strongest earthquake in Southern California since 1999. (Xinhua)