Twin earhquakes shake California
The two earthquakes occurred just 34 hours apart from each other.
Southern California experienced a twin earthquake incident this week which has led to considerable destruction in the area. The two earthquakes, one with magnitude 6.4 and another major one with a magnitude of 7.1, occurred just 34 hours apart from each other and are being predicted to have a potential extension of another such series of tremors with higher magnitudes. These are being said to be the largest earthquakes experienced in the last two decades by this region.
The first earthquake of a lower magnitude struck the Southeastern part of California, on Thursday, with its epicentre in Ridgecrest, a city of a population fewer than 30,000 people. While the citizens were still recovering from the aftershocks of this earthquake, another major one of magnitude 7.1 struck the same area the next night on Friday.
The tremors of these earthquakes were felt as far away as Las Vegas and Mexico, but most of the damage was caused in the Ridgecrest area. Although there were no fatalities, a number of small and moderate injuries have been reported. The property damages are comparatively higher including damage to roads, houses, buildings as well as electricity and water outages. The later earthquake has also been reported to have caused multiple structural fires and injuries in the nearby areas.
Gavin Newsom, the California Governor, immediately placed the Office of Emergency Services (OES) on high alert and also requested federal assistance on Thursday. He also told the media that he has requested President Trump to declare a presidential emergency. A joint task force including 200 security personnel as well as helicopters and cargo aircraft was also deployed, according to the National Guard Major General David Baldwin.
The United States Geological Survey revealed that Friday's event was 11 times stronger than the previous one and that there is also a strong possibility of occurrence of another series of follow-up tremors with even higher magnitude. These two quakes have also allegedly revived the fear of the popularly discussed power tremor, 'The Big One', along the San Andreas fault, which can potentially devastate major cities in Southern California affecting some 7 million people.
Lucy Jones, a seismologist from the California Institute of Technology said, "It is clearly a very energetic sequence, so there's no reason to think we can't have more, larger earthquakes. It would be extremely unusual if we don't have another one by this week."
The Kern County Fire Chief, David Witt said in a press conference on Saturday, that his team was ready for potential aftershocks but the inability of even the experts to predict when they could occur can cause potential hurdles in the safety measures.
Putting some more light on the whole process, Jones explained how these quakes are a part of the earthquake pattern in California. "In California, we expect to have a magnitude 7 quake in every 10 to 20 years, and the last one was 20 years ago. Think of this as something California is supposed to be doing," she said while explaining why these quakes cannot be linked with Climate Change as being done with other abnormal environment patterns like the heatwaves across Europe and in Alaska.
While the concerned competent authorities in California have all declared that there is a high chance of another series of quakes, the rescue groups and the governing bodies are also set to face it with the required measures. However, the exact time of arrival of these tremors is still being contemplated by scientists and researchers.