SEARLES VALLEY (CBSLA) – A 5.4 magnitude earthquake hit Searles Valley early Friday morning, one of a swarm of hundreds of aftershocks in the wake of Thursday’s massive 6.6 magnitude earthquake in the same area. It’s the largest aftershock measured thus far.
The 5.4 magnitude quake struck at 4:07 a.m., according to the U.S. Geological Survey website. It was felt across the Southland, but there were no reports of damage, according to the L.A. Fire Department.
It struck 9.9 miles west of Searles Valley at a depth of 4.4 miles.
Searles Valley is located in Kern County near the Mojave Desert, about 160 miles northeast of L.A.
This latest aftershock comes after a 6.4 magnitude quake struck Searles Valley Thursday morning, the largest earthquake in Southern California since 1999.
The quake was felt as far south as Orange County and as far east as Las Vegas. Fortunately, no serious injuries were reported.
Power was knocked out in Trona, a small town closest to the epicenter, located about 25 miles north of Ridgecrest. Residents across the town reported water main breaks and gas line breaks. Several homes and businesses were damaged. Power was mostly restored by Friday. A highway outside Trona sustained severe damage. The roadway has since been repaired.
The Kern County Fire Department responded to dozens of incidents ranging from structure fires to gas leaks and medical issues. About 15 patients at Ridgecrest Regional Hospital were evacuated and moved to a Bakersfield hospital due to structural damage to the building.
At least three Ridgecrest homes appeared to have been completely destroyed in the quake. One of those belonged to longtime resident Charlotte Sturgeon.
“Our’s is totaled,” Sturgeon told CBS2 Friday.
“We never dreamed it would happen, but it did,” she added.
Her neighbor Bridgette’s home was a total loss too.
“I’m homeless,” an emotional Bridgette said.
The third Ridgeview home was destroyed after a garage caught fire when a gas hot water heater tipped over and the broken gas line ignited.
Despite those losses, Ridgecrest Police Chief Jed McLaughlin was relieved the damage wasn’t even worse, with hundreds of other homes spared.
“At the beginning of this, it looked like it was going to be really bad, and turned out it’s the best that we can hope for,” McLaughlin told CBS2.
In San Bernardino County, meanwhile, water main breaks, cracked buildings and downed power lines were reported, and a massive house fire was captured on cell phone video.
According to the Southern California Seismic Network, by 3:15 p.m. Thursday, more than 220 aftershocks were recorded. The largest was a magnitude 4.6.