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Major Quake Hits Same California Area, Causes Damage, Injuries

A quake with a magnitude of 7.1 jolted much of California, cracking buildings, setting fires, breaking roads and causing several injuries while seismologists warned that large aftershocks were expected to continue for days, if not weeks.The Friday night quake, preceded by Thursday’s 6.4-magnitude temblor in the Mojave Desert, was the largest Southern California quake in at least 20 years and was followed by a series of large and small aftershocks, including a few above magnitude 5.0.There is about a 1-in-10 chance that another 7.0 quake could hit within the next week, said Lucy Jones, a seismologist at the California Institute of Technology and a former science adviser at the U.S. Geological Survey.A fireman looks over a home Saturday, July 6, 2019 that burned after a earthquake in Ridgecrest, Calif.The chance of a 5.0-magnitude quake “is approaching certainty,” she added.Aftershocks from the new main quake could occur for years, Jones said.However, the quake was unlikely to affect fault lines outside of the area, she said, noting that the gigantic San Andreas Fault was far away.Latest A mobile phone customer looks at an earthquake warning application on their phone in Los Angeles, Jan. 3, 2019. The app, called ShakeAlertLA, is available for download on Android and Apple phones.Warning appEarlier Friday, Los Angeles had revealed plans to lower slightly the threshold for public alerts from its earthquake early warning app. But officials said the change was in the works before the Thursday quake, which gave scientists at the California Institute of Technology’s seismology lab 48 seconds of warning but did not trigger a public notification.“Our goal is to alert people who might experience potentially damaging shaking, not just feel the shaking,” said Robert de Groot, a spokesman for the USGS’s ShakeAlert system, which is being developed for California, Oregon and Washington.The West Coast ShakeAlert system has provided non-public earthquake notifications on a daily basis to many test users, including emergency agencies, industries, transportation systems and schools.Construction of a network of seismic-monitoring stations for the West Coast is just over half complete, with most coverage in Southern California, San Francisco Bay Area and the Seattle-Tacoma area. Eventually, the system will send out alerts over the same system used for Amber Alerts to defined areas that are expected to be affected by a quake, de Groot said.California is partnering with the federal government to build the statewide earthquake warning system, with the goal of turning it on by June 2021. The state has spent at least $25 million building it, including installing hundreds of seismic stations throughout the state.This year, Newsom said the state needed $16.3 million to finish the project, which included money for stations to monitor seismic activity, plus nearly $7 million for “outreach and education.” The state Legislature approved the funding last month, and Newsom signed it into law.

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