Earthquake Stops Moving Rollercoaster, Newsreaders Take Cover Live On Air

Shaking through their second major earthquake in less than two days, Southern California residents have demonstrated that not everyone handles an emergency situation the same.

A 7.1 earthquake hit the state on Friday night local time, rattling residents for up to 40 seconds.

It's the second temblor to affect California this week, after a 6.4 magnitude shock hit the same area on July 4.

Not exactly something you can schedule your plans around, the earthquake struck while some visitors to Disneyland in Anaheim were riding the 'Space Mountain' rollercoaster.

"Apparently there was an earthquake while we were on space mountain so they stopped it mid-ride," one person said on Twitter, sharing a video from inside the halted ride.

A ride operator can be heard telling the "space travellers" that spacecrafts have been put in a holding pattern.

Other rides and attractions, including the newly built Millenium Falcon,  were evacuated.

READ MORELargest Earthquake In 20 Years Rocks Southern California

The quake also hit in the middle of the 8pm KCAL9 news broadcast.

CBS newsreaders Juan Fernandez and Rebecca Jarvis were on-air when the tremors began to shake the news studio.

"This is a very strong earthquake," Jarvis said as she clutched her fellow anchor's arm.

"8:21 [pm] here on the air we are experiencing very strong shaking."

As the show cut to commercial, Jarvis could be seen leaving her chair to crouch under the desk while Fernandez remained seated.

While the event may have stopped a ride and a news bulletin, it failed to stop a major league baseball game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres.

Despite a swaying stadium, Padres pitcher Eric Lauer didn't appear to even register the quake and continued pitching like it was nothing at all.

Friday's earthquake occurred on the same fault system as the 6.4 temblor, which is now being considered a foreshock.

It was widely felt across Southern California, including greater Los Angeles. Low-level rumbling extended as far north as the San Francisco Bay area and beyond to Reno, Nevada, and as far east as Phoenix, Arizona.

The incident now ranks as Southern California's most powerful earthquake since a 7.1 quake that struck near a US Marine Corps base in the Mojave Desert in 1999.

California Governor Gavin Newsom requested federal assistance and placed the state Office of Emergency Services (OES) on its highest alert.

"We have significant reports of fires, structural fires, mostly as a result of gas leaks or gas line breaks," OES Director Mark Ghilarducci told a late-night news conference on Friday.

The quake also caused water main breaks and knocked out power and communications to parts of Ridgecrest, a city of about 27,000 that lies about 202 km northeast of Los Angeles.

No fatalities or serious injuries were reported from either quake, police said. But Ghilarducci said the full extent of damage would not be known before daybreak on Saturday.

"This was a very large earthquake, and we also know there's going to be a series of aftershocks as a result of the main quake," Ghilarducci said, adding his agency faced a "challenge" getting needed resources to the isolated quake zone.

"This is not going to be something that's going to be over right away."

With AAP.