California earthquakes today: 78 quakes hit in 24 hours as aftershocks continue

The enormous magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck on Friday at a depth of just 0.6 miles (0.9km) in Ridgecrest, some 150 miles (240km) northeast of Los Angeles. The huge temblor was felt as far away as Phoenix, Arizona, more than 345 miles (560km) away. The quake left its mark on the landscape and infrastructure, but no fatalities were reported.

After the major quake, aftershocks continued to ripple across the region.

In the last 24 hours alone, 78 tremors have been recorded by the United States Geological Survey (USGS), ranging from magnitude-2.5 to 4.1.

Seismologists expect this pattern to continue, although with decreasing frequency and magnitude.

But thousands more small quakes are expected, with scientists predicting about 34,000 over the next six months, according to the Los Angeles Times.

However, scientists have sought to reassure residents that the chances of another earthquake of magnitude seven or above is now less than one percent.

Caltech seismologist Egill Hauksson said on Monday: “It’s extremely unlikely by now to have another magnitude seven.”

The size of the earthquake has led to increased discussion of California’s preparedness for the “Big One” – a catastrophic earthquake that seismologists say is well overdue along the San Andreas Fault.

Experts said the recent quakes did not happen along the San Andreas Fault and are unlikely to affect it.

While the region waits for the ongoing tremors to subside, work has begun to repair damage caused by Friday’s huge quake.

On Monday, US President Donald Trump approved a request by California Governor Gavin Newsom to declare a state of emergency, unlocking extra funds.

Scores of homes and roads have suffered major damage from the quake which opened cracks in roads and caused landslides.

Fires broke out and emergency services were dispatched across the state to deal with calls.

In the immediate aftermath, Ridgecrest Mayor Peggy Breeden said: “We’ve got fires, we’ve got gas leaks, we’ve got injuries, we’ve got people without power. We’re dealing with it as best we can.”

All 3,000 homes left without power have now had it restored and roads have reopened.

A major crack in the desert has been captured by satellites.

San Francisco-based Planet Labs spotted the crack and tweeted before and after pictures of the Mojave desert.

According to a tweet from Will Marshall, Planet Labs chief executive, the patterns in the sand suggest water was sucked from the ground in a process called “dewatering”.

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