Ridgecrest Quake Packed the Power of 45 Nuclear Bombs, but Its Impact Was Muted

Roger Sandoval sits on a table at his Shell gas station in Trona, which suffered major damage to its holding tanks in the July 5, 2019 7.1 magnitude quake that struck in the Mojave Desert. (Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Roger Sandoval sits on a table at his Shell gas station in Trona, which suffered major damage to its holding tanks in the July 5, 2019 7.1 magnitude quake that struck in the Mojave Desert. (Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

When the magnitude 7.1 earthquake ruptured the earth in the Mojave Desert, it packed the energy of 45 nuclear bombs of the type that fell on Hiroshima.

But a variety of factors lessened the potency and impact of what was the most powerful Southern California earthquake in nearly two decades.

The massive temblor, it’s important to note, ruptured on a fault whose northwest-southeast direction pushed the worst shaking away from populated areas.

The area Ridgecrest sits in is riddled with faults — in the Eastern California Shear Zone — that have produced some of the state’s biggest quakes in the modern record, like the magnitude 7.5 Owens Valley earthquake of 1872 and the magnitude 7.3 Landers earthquake in 1992.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

These Planet Labs, Inc. satellite images provided to CNN show a crack that formed in the area close to the epicenter.

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