Mojave Desert earthquake rattles Three Rivers (with updates)

Searles Valley, Calif.
  • According to a preliminary earthquake report by the Southern California Seismic Network, a cooperative project of U.S. Geological Survey, located at the California Caltech Seismological Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., a strong earthquake occurred at 10:33:48 a.m. on Thursday, July 4, 2019.

The magnitude 6.4 event occurred seven miles southwest of Searles Valley (also known as Trona), Calif., in the Mojave Desert (northwestern San Bernardino County). Searles Valley is a remote desert area north of Barstow and about 25 miles northeast of Ridgecrest. The hypocentral depth is 5 miles.

The temblor was felt in Three Rivers, about 70 air miles from Searles Valley, traveling under the Southern Sierra range. More information will be posted on the earthquake as it is received.

UPDATE FROM THE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA SEISMIC NETWORK:

Aftershocks

  • As of July 4, 2019, 11:05 am PDT, there have been 20 aftershocks recorded.
  • The largest was  magnitude 4.7 (smallest M2.2).
  • More aftershocks may be expected in the next few days, the largest expected is approximately 1 magnitude unit smaller than the mainshock.
  • There is a small chance (about 5%) that a larger quake could occur, with the likelihood decreasing over time.

Possible Foreshocks

  • There were 9 events during the 3 days prior to the earthquake (within a 10 km radius).
  • The largest was M4.0 (2019/07/04).

Historical Seismicity

  • Since SCSN records began in 1932 there have been 31 events of M4 or greater within 10km of the July 4, 2019, event.
  • The largest historic event was M5.8 on 1995/09/20.
  • The most recent historic event was M4.1 on November 1, 2011.

Faults

  • Nearby faults: Little Lake fault zone (0.9 km) and Wilson Canyon fault (14.6 km).

UPDATE – July 4, 6 p.m.

A state of emergency has been declared at the epicenter of the earthquake due to damage, injuries, and the possibility that a bigger quake could hit. There is a one in 20 chance, according to experts, that the 6.4 quake was not the biggest, but instead a foreshock, and another could be coming.

Damage includes broken gas lines and leaks,  two house fires, and damage to homes and businesses and the contents. Multiple injuries include 20 victims who were taken to Ridgecrest Hospital, which was also being evacuated due to sustained damage.

There have been at least 100 aftershocks. A water main burst in Los Angeles as a result of the shaking. The quake was felt as far away as Las Vegas and San Diego. In Three Rivers, the rumbling lasted about 10 seconds.

UPDATE – July 5, 8:19 p.m.

A 7.1 magnitude earthquake rocked the Searles Valley area once again. The area has been experiencing constant aftershocks. The temblor was felt in Three Rivers, lasting 30 seconds or more. It was stronger than the 10 seconds of earthquake felt here on July 4.

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