Tremors under the earth in California have not stopped since a magnitude 6.4 earthquake hit the area on Thursday evening.
Scientists said that since the initial event, more than 1,400 aftershocks have affected the area near Ridgecrest, which has alarmed residents, many of whom are sleeping outside of their houses for safety reasons.
Ridgecrest Police Chief Jed McLaughlin told residents to begin removing items from the walls of their homes to avoid injury.
“I would probably start taking some stuff off the walls if they’re not already down,” he said. “Make sure you’re not sleeping under something that’s still hung up.”
McLaughlin also warned residents that the danger is far from over. “This isn’t going to stop in the near future. The aftershocks, they haven’t slowed down since the 7.1 (magnitude earthquake). For a period of time there was constant vibration.”
Reports state that the quake was the largest to hit the area in 20 years and was followed by aftershocks reported to be 5.5 in magnitude.
Data logged into the U.S. Geological Survey’s Did You Feel It? website said the earthquake was also felt by residents in Reno, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.
California Institute of Technology seismologist Lucy Jones said Friday that she predicts another quake of greater magnitude will strike.
“There’s about a 1 in 10 chance that we could have another 7 in this sequence,” she commented.
Furthermore, Jones added to her statement by saying, “These earthquakes are related.” She also said it was possible the quake ruptured along the fault line, which made it part of the entire sequence.
Ridgecrest resident Katie Archibald told reporters she was glad she and her family were outside when the earthquake struck on Friday evening.
“It’s pretty darn scary … I’ve never experienced anything like this,” she said. “Luckily we were outside, we could get away from the trailer … best place to be is just out in the open.”
Two 5.5 aftershocks hit the Ridgecrest area where the Archibald family lives.
“That one aftershock comes through and it just kind of makes you stop in your tracks,” she commented.