5.4-magnitude aftershock shakes Southern California

RIDGECREST, Calif. — A magnitude 5.4 earthquake rattled the Mojave Desert and was felt throughout Southern California early Friday morning.

The quake struck about 4:07 a.m. and was centered about 10 miles west of Searles Valley, about 11 miles north-northeast of Ridgecrest, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

It was an aftershock from the 6.4-magnitude earthquake that hit the same area on the Fourth of July.

The Los Angeles Fire Department said all 106 fire station districts are out conducting strategic surveys, but there were no immediate reports of damage or injury in the city.

Thursday’s earthquake — centered near Ridgecrest, 150 miles northeast 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.

The U.S. Geological Survey in Golden said there’s a 20% chance of an earthquake of magnitude 6 or higher occurring in the next week 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.

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