A second major earthquake hit the Ridgecrest area of Southern California Friday night.  This quake was approximately ten times larger than the shaker that hit on Independence Day.

The 7.1 magnitude earthquake that rocked Southern California on Friday night rattled buildings, fractured roadways and left residents on edge, but did not cause any fatalities or major injuries, officials said.

California’s second major earthquake in less than two days struck near Ridgecrest, a Mojave Desert town about 125 miles northeast of Los Angeles. The same area was rattled by a magnitude 6.4 earthquake, the largest in nearly two decades, on the morning of July Fourth.

The Friday night earthquake was about 10 times larger, seismologists said. Shaking was felt as far away as Phoenix, Las Vegas, Baja California and Reno, according to crowd-sourced data on the U.S. Geological Survey.

As with the July 4th quake, the damage was mainly localized around the Ridgecrest area.

Kern County spokeswoman Megan Person said officials were responding to multiple reports of injuries and fires. Power outages were reported in and around Ridgecrest and the nearby community of Trona was without power.

Caltrans spokeswoman Terri Kasinga said that as of 8:45 p.m. PST Friday no highway damage had been reported. “It’s too soon to tell,” she said, but crews are surveying the highways.

Some residents of Ridgecrest, a town of about 28,000, were too fearful to sleep inside their homes, choosing instead to spend the night on their driveway or sidewalks, said Ridgecrest’s Mayor Peggy Breeden.

As the earthquake struck a little after 8 pm, several sporting events were halted for obvious safety concerns.

Scientists place the odds at a 1-in-10 chance that another 7.0 quake could hit within the next week.

Interestingly, there are indications other areas of the California and the country are becoming more active geologically.

Black tar releases have expanded beyond the bounds of the La Brea Tar Pits, and locals are remarking that it’s the worst they’ve seen.

A large puddle of tar encroached on the sidewalk and natural gas appeared to rise from the street of the Miracle Mile in Los Angeles Friday.

…Resident Natalie Vota stopped to document it Friday and Saturday.

“This is the worst I’ve seen,” she said Saturday.

Farther south, in the Lake Elsionore area, there are reports of new releases of tar.

A black and sticky tar-like substance has residents in one Lake Elsinore neighborhood trying to determine where it is coming from.

“I come out here everyday and look. It started out a couple of blobs here and there, and we were gone for two days and when I came back out, this was right along in here and it just keeps oozing this way,” said Mario Maldonado.

The black material is just behind Maldonado’s backyard. He said shortly after a Valentine’s Day storm, he noticed the ground began to ooze.

“After we had the rain, the last set of rains it eroded all the banks here, and this started coming out because it was buried at some point,” said Maldonado.

On a national level, geologic activity in the Yellowstone area seems to have picked up, as the geysers in the park have been historically active.

The Steamboat Geyser at Yellowstone National Park is no Old Faithful.

The world’s tallest active geyser — whose major eruptions shoot water more than 300 feet into the air — is known to be unpredictable. But if there was ever a year to witness Steamboat’s spectacular surge of water, this might be it.

We’re just over halfway through 2019 and the Steamboat Geyser has already erupted 25 times, according to the US Geological Survey. That puts it on track to surpass last year’s record of 32 eruptions — the largest number ever recorded in a year. The record before that was 29 eruptions in 1964.

Finally, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) has raised the alert level for the Mauna Loa volcano.

Clusters of small earthquakes were picked up in the vicinity from October 2018, and continued unrest has led authorities to push the alert up one level.

The new yellow alert states the volcano is showing signs of “elevated unrest”.

As a safety professional, I recommend that people evaluate their emergency preparedness plans and supplies. Strap yourselves in, it looks like it’s going to be a bumpy year geologically as well as politically.


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