A series of earthquakes up to magnitude 4.7 shook the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley on Thursday. There were no reports of injuries.
The temblors, centered three miles southwest of Mettler and about 70 miles northwest of Los Angeles, began with a magnitude 3.4 jolt that was quickly followed by the 4.7 at 1:24 p.m., according to the U.S. Geological Survey in Pasadena.
Donald Sullivan, an employee at the Mettler Renegade truck stop and gas station, said the area had experienced quakes before, but the latest ones still “made everyone jump.”
Sullivan said the rattling knocked drinks off the shelves but did little damage. “We felt it pretty good, like someone picked up the store and shook it,” he said.
Customers at Mettler’s Panda Express restaurant jumped up when the earthquakes struck, and an employee hid under a table, said manager Cato Fuentes.
“Everybody was a little shocked, waiting in case something else happened,” Fuentes said. “But everything turned out all right” and there was no damage to the building or equipment.
Seismologists recorded numerous aftershocks throughout the afternoon.
“The only things we’re getting reported is that some items toppled over on shelves, but we’ve gotten no reports of damage or injuries,” said Kern County Fire Capt. Doug Johnston.
The quakes occurred near the White Wolf fault, a type in which the rock above the fault moves up relative to the rock below it.
The last time the White Wolf fault caused a major earthquake was in 1952, when an estimated magnitude 7.5 temblor killed 12 people and injured 18.