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Largest Earthquake In 20 Years Rocks Southern California

A powerful magnitude 6.4 earthquake has struck southern California near the city of Ridgecrest, about 175km northeast of Los Angeles.

The quake struck the region Thursday, the largest to hit since 1999, officials said.

The United States Geological Survey said the quake struck at 10:33 a.m. PT. The earthquake was initially given a magnitude of 6.6, but was later revised to 6.4. Officials said emergency crews were responding to at least 24 medical and fire incidents in the city of Ridgecrest.

Cracks Form In Roads From  Earthquake

Large cracks opened up in roadways between Trona and Ridgecrest where at magnitude earthquake struck.

Southern California Earthquake
Cracks were spotted in the road between Trona and Ridgecrest. Photo: CBS News.

A waitress at the Midway Cafe in Ridgecrest said she was so started by the quake it almost gave her a "heart attack".

"It's just a rolling feeling inside the building, inside the cafe and all of a sudden everything started falling off the shelf, glasses, the refrigerator and everything in the small refrigerator fell over," Cora Burke told the Associated Press.

In an interview with CNN, Ridgecrest Mayor Peggy Breeden said crews were responding to at least five fires across the city. Breeden also told the network that crews were assessing broken gas lines.

California System
Officials Warn Of More Aftershocks

Dr. Lucy Jones, a seismologist with the United States Geological Survey, said there has already been a high number of aftershocks following the quake. "I think we have already had probably an excess of 20 3.5 [magnitude aftershocks]," Jones said in a news conference.

"I would expect that there will continue to be magnitude 3s every few minutes, as there have been since this earthquake happened and that as those many 3s come through, we're going to have several 4s," Jones continued.

Southern California Earthquake
Map of the earthquake's epicenter. Photo: Twitter/LAPD HQ.

She said several minutes before the news conference, she had logged a 4.1 magnitude aftershock.

House Catches Fire Following Earthquake

A massive house fire in Ridgecrest was caught on video following the earthquake. It's unclear what caused the blaze.

The earthquake was followed by dozens of aftershocks in Ridgecrest and Searles Valley, measuring anywhere from magnitude 2.9 to 4.2, according to CBS Los Angeles.

California Earthquake
A house caught fire following the earthquake. Photo: Facebook/ Ben Hood.
The Earthquake IS The Largest In 20 years

The earthquake is the largest to hit Southern California since 1999, Dr. Lucy Jones, a seismologist with the United States Geological Survey said.

She said the region experienced about eight magnitude 6 earthquakes in the 90s. "This is an extremely quiet, abnormal time. This type of earthquake is much more normal," Jones said in a news conference.

No Damage Reported In Los Angeles

The Los Angeles Police Department said it did not receive any reports of damage.

"This was a strong one, and a good reminder to be prepared," the department tweeted.