SEARLES, Calif. — A powerful 6.4 earthquake and a series of more than 150 aftershocks terrified California residents Thursday and there may be another strong quake coming soon.
Thursday’s earthquake — centered near Ridgecrest, 150 miles north of Los Angeles — was the strongest to hit Southern California in nearly 20 years, prompting one city’s mayor and later the governor to declare a state of emergency for the area.
It was like being in a movie, Ridgecrest resident Sara Baird said.
“Everything shakes. The whole ground shakes beneath you, the whole house. Everything fell in my kitchen, it’s still on the floor,” Baird told CNN affiliate KABC.
The US Geological Survey said there’s a 20% chance of an earthquake of magnitude 6 or higher occurring in the next week and and an 80% chance of a magnitude 5 or higher quake hitting the state.
But a larger quake isn’t as likely, the agency said.
“While it is always possible for large quakes to trigger an even larger quake, most do not,” the agency said. “It’s generally not possible to determine whether a given quake will turn out to be a ‘foreshock’ of a larger one.”
The chance of another earthquake equally as or more powerful hitting in the next week is only 9%, the USGS said.
An earthquake as powerful as this week’s will produce an aftershock as large as a 5.4 magnitude, the agency said, and 10 aftershocks with magnitude 4.4 or higher.
Over the next few days, smaller earthquakes are likely, with up to 700 aftershocks of magnitude 3 or higher, according to the USGS.