Southern California reels from strongest earthquake in 20 years

earthquake

Small communities in the Mojave Desert are reeling from a magnitude 7.1 earthquake, the second major temblor in as many days to rock Southern California.
     
Authorities say Friday night's shaker was centred near the town of Ridgecrest.  It's the same area where a 6.4-magnitude quake hit on Independence Day.
     
Mark Ghillarducci, director of the California Office of Emergency Services, says there are ``significant reports of structure fires, mostly as a result of gas leaks or gas line breaks throughout the city.''
     
He also says there's a report of a building collapse in tiny Trona. He says there could be even more serious damage to the region that won't be known until first light on Saturday.
     
The quake at 8:19 p.m. was felt as far north as Sacramento and even in Las Vegas. It's been followed by a series of sizeable aftershocks.