An earthquake of 6.4 magnitude has hit Southern California on Thursday, it is the largest temblor to hit the region in decades.
The quake occurred just after 10am and was centered in the Searles Valley, a remote area of Kern County about 100 miles from Los Angeles.
The quake was the largest in Southern California since the 1994 6.6 Northridge quake, which killed dozens and caused billions of dollars in damage. But the 1994 quake hit in the center of a populated area, while Thursday’s quake was located far from the metropolitan Los Angeles area.
It was also a comparatively deep quake which occurred more than five miles underground.
“I was in my kitchen trying to get some coffee and all the windows started rattling,” said Emma Gallegos, a 34-year-old journalist in southwest Bakersfield. “It was just a little bit at first — I thought something was going by, and then I realized all the windows were rattling. It was kind of a long gentle roll and I felt two distinct waves.”
Other people nearer to the epicenter were shocked by the tremors.
“I was laying down in my bed and I had my feet on the wall and I felt like both of the sides of the house were moving and shaking so I ran, and grabbed my brother and kid and came outside,” said Edith Mata, 22, a student at Bakersfield College.
“The neighbors across the street were also outside with their whole family of five people. My kid had no idea what was going on.” Mata said that it felt very “creepy” and that she had never experienced anything like it before.
It was unclear whether the earthquake caused damage or injuries. Los Angeles officials said they have gotten no reports of major damage.
The earthquake was centered about 90 miles northeast of Bakersfield and 125 miles north of Los Angeles.The earthquake was felt widely throughout the Los Angeles area, said Caltech seismologist Egill Hauksson.
Local emergency agencies have been flooded with calls, and officials urged that people only use 911 for emergencies.
“We are very much aware of the significant earthquake that just occurred in Southern California. Please DO NOT call 9-1-1 unless there are injuries or other dangerous conditions. Don’t call for questions please,” the LAPD said in a statement.