TRONA (CBSLA) — In the town closest to the epicenter of Thursday morning’s earthquake, the lights are finally back on — though residents are still waiting for water and gas to return.
The other issue, according to CBS2’s Tom Wait, is that there have been unsettling aftershocks throughout the evening, hours after the 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit.
“This one got to me, and I’m still a little shaken up,” one resident said. “I’m still worried about the aftershocks, and they keep saying that we might have more. So, it’s scary.”
According to the United States Geological Survey, the quake’s epicenter was 7.5 miles southwest of Searles Valley at a depth of 6.6 miles. The earthquake was initially given a magnitude of 6.6, but was later revised to a 6.4. It’s the largest earthquake to hit the region since 1999.
The quake was preceded by two foreshocks: the first at 10:02 a.m. with a magnitude of 4.0 and the second one seven minutes later with a magnitude of 2.5. The 6.4 quake happened 24 minutes later.
The earthquake was followed by dozens of aftershocks in the Ridgecrest and Searles Valley areas, measuring anywhere from magnitude 2.9 to 4.2. In
the first 90 minutes following the earthquake, there were six aftershocks with magnitudes above 4.0 and roughly 30 with magnitudes above 3.0, according to seismologists.
According to the Southern California Seismic Network, by 3:15 p.m., more than 220 aftershocks were recorded. The largest was a magnitude 4.6. There were 12 with magnitudes above 4.0, 59 with recorded magnitudes above 3.0 and 162 with magnitudes above 2.0. More aftershocks are expected in the next few days.
Residents in Trona — a place known by tourists as a little town on the way in and out of Death Valley — said the shaking was violent enough to fling glass bottles to the ground, spill the contents of cabinets to the floor and knock photos off the wall.
“I thought my tire popped,” Ashly Evans, who was in her car with her 2-week-old baby, said. “I went into the dirt and then I saw that the road had like waves in it. … I was in front of the school, and it was just going back and forth.”
And while crews have patched up the worst of the cracks in the road caused by the quake, residents are still without vital services, and there’s no time frame for when gas and water will be restored.
For the residents of Ridgecrest — 25 miles southwest of Trona — CBS2’s Nicole Comstock reports they’re shaken by the morning’s events.
The moment the earthquake hit, young children were in the middle of performing a play at a local school. Video taken from the event shows the children screaming as the violent shaking starts. The Eastridge Market suffered thousands of dollars in damage from the shaking as glass bottles shattered on the ground. Another business lost $40,000 worth of computer parts in what one employee said felt like a freight train hitting the building.
One woman lost her trailer as the vibrations from the earth buckled the structure.
“I thought my house was collapsing on top of us,” she said. “It’s a very scary thing.”
Another family lost their home to fire after the quake rattled gas lines.
Throughout San Bernardino County, water main breaks, cracked buildings and downed power lines were reported, and a massive house fire was captured on cell phone video.
The quake was felt as far south as Orange County and as far east as Las Vegas.