The strongest earthquake to hit Southern California in 20 years left scattered damage Thursday morning and was felt from Las Vegas to Orange County, the US Geological Survey reported.
The quake, with an early magnitude of 6.4, was centered near Ridgecrest, a community west of the Mojave Desert and about 150 miles north of Los Angeles.
Reports of scattered damage, including rock slides and fires, rolled in by midday.
At least four large aftershocks, from 3.5 to 4.7 magnitude, and dozens smaller were recorded, officials said.
In Los Angeles, the temblor was felt as a long, rolling quake, and buildings rocked back and forth for at least several seconds.
Diane Ruggiero, general manager of the Hampton Inn and Suites Ridgecrest in Ridgecrest, told CNN’s Paul Vercammen that the hotel has significant damage.
“The chandeliers are still swinging,” she said five minutes after the quake hit at 10:33 a.m. PT. “The floor rippled.”
Los Angeles International Airport said no damage was reported on runways. “Operations remain normal,” it tweeted.
“We have no reports of damage to any FAA facilities or operational effects from the quake at this time,” FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said.
Trona, an unincorporated community, “sustained varying degrees of damage” but no injuries have been reported, according to San Bernadino County Fire’s verified Twitter account.
The department reported “minor cracks (in buildings); broken water mains; power lines down; rock slides on certain roads” in northwestern communities in the county.
Just north of Los Angeles, Kern County Fire is responding to more than 20 incidents relating to the earthquake and aftershocks including fires and medical emergencies, according to a tweet on its verified account.
Mayor Peggy Breeden told the Associated Press that firefighters are working to put out at least five fires in the area.
Highway 178 has a 4-inch crack, said San Bernardino County Fire spokesman Jeremy Kern. By 1:20 p.m., fire officials told KTLA that the crack was at 12 inches.
All highways in San Bernardino County remain open. The area’s high tension power lines are all intact.
U.S. Geological Survey Lucy Jones seismologist told reporters, “The earthquake was near China Lake and Ridgecrest. It’s is sparsely inhabited area, so the number of people who would have received damage is much lower.”
She said there is a 1 in 20 chance that a bigger earthquake will hit within the next few days. “It’s certain that this area is going to be shaking a lot today and some of those aftershocks will probably exceed magnitude 5.”
Jones said the quake was preceded by magnitude 4.2 temblor about 30 minutes before, which she called a foreshock.