Magnitude 4.9 Earthquake Hits in Southern California a Week After 7.1 Quake

By Zachary Stieber

A 4.9 magnitude earthquake hit southern California on July 12, one week after the major 7.1 quake.

The latest temblor hit near Ridgecrest, in the same area in the Mojave Desert as the major July 5 quake and a strong 6.4 quake on July 4.

The quake struck about eight miles from Ridgecrest, 14 miles from Searles Valley, and 60 miles from Barstow, at a depth of about six miles, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

According to the agency’s shake report, the quake was felt in Hollywood, Los Angeles, Apple Valley, and other areas.

The quake was followed by three others in the area, registering magnitudes of 3.1, 2.8, and 2.5. It was also preceded by multiple smaller quakes.

Seismologist Lucy Jones responded to the temblor on Twitter: “Remember, we said that the relative number of large magnitude quakes is constant, and more M5s in the sequence would be normal. This morning’s M4.9 is normal and it’s having its own aftershocks.”

She referenced a previous missive in which she said the number of aftershocks will die off with time but the magnitudes will not.

“When the number of small quakes goes down, the rate of big ones goes down too, but a big one can still happen. An M5 later this week—or later this year—will be normal,” she wrote on July 10.

The Los Angeles Fire Department said that the quake triggered an earthquake emergency.

There were no reports so far of significant damage, it added.

Jones previously said that there was a 10 percent chance of another strong earthquake hitting southern California after the July 5 quake.

Jones, a seismologist at Caltech, said that there was “about a 1 in 10 chance that Searles Valley will see another” magnitude 7 quake.

California Earthquake
A fire breaks out behind the Casa Corona restaurant after a quake in Ridgecrest, Calif., on July 5, 2019. The 6.4 magnitude quake was followed by a 7.1 magnitude temblor the next day. (Jessica Weston/The Daily Independent via AP)
Ridgecrest residents take pictures at a recent fault rupture following two large earthquakes in the area near Ridgecrest, California on July 7, 2019. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

“That is a 9 in 10 chance that tonight’s M7.1 was the largest,” she wrote on Twitter.

The estimate came several hours after Jones said that the 7.1 quake “has a 1 in 30 chance of being followed by something even bigger.”

“Smaller quakes—M5s are likely and a M6 is quite possible,” she said.

“So the M6.4 was a foreshock. This was a M7.1 on the same fault as has been producing the Searles Valley sequence. This is part of the same sequence,” she wrote. “This is the same sequence. You know we say we 1 in 20 chance that an earthquake will be followed by something bigger? This is that 1 in 20 time.”