Earthquake: 5.5 quake strikes near Ridgecrest and shakes Southern California

A map of the shaking intensity from the earthquake

A magnitude 5.5 earthquake rumbled near Ridgecrest, about 120 miles northeast of Los Angeles, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, and shaking was felt across Southern California.

The USGS estimated that only moderate shaking, or level 5 on the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale, would have affected Ridgecrest, a city of about 29,000 people in the Mojave Desert. Moderate shaking is capable of breaking dishes and windows and overturning objects, but is not expected to cause major damage.

The earthquake hit Wednesday at 6:32 p.m.

Seismologist Lucy Jones said on Twitter that the earthquake was a large late aftershock from the Ridgecrest earthquakes on July 4 and 5. “These are common,” Jones tweeted.


Caltech seismologist Zachary Ross said on Twitter that Wednesday’s quake was the largest aftershock of last summer’s earthquakes. The Fourth of July earthquake was a magnitude 6.4, which happened to be a foreshock to a magnitude 7.1 quake that hit on July 5.

Wednesday’s quake is still considered an aftershock of last year’s quakes because the rate of seismic events per day “is still way above the rate it was” before the July quakes, Ross said.

Earthquake early warning apps MyShake and QuakeAlertUSA distributed alerts, the USGS said. The MyShake app issued an alert in the Searles Valley, close to the epicenter.

An aftershock of this magnitude will have its own aftershocks, said USGS seismologist Susan Hough on Twitter. As is usual, there is a 1-in-20 chance a more powerful earthquake can strike in the next three days, she said.

The earthquake occurred 26 miles from California City, 52 miles from Barstow, 62 miles from Rosamond and 64 miles from Tehachapi.

5.5 quake strikes near Ridgecrest, Calif.

In the last 10 days, there have been five earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater centered nearby.

An average of five earthquakes with magnitudes between 5.0 and 6.0 occur per year in California and Nevada, according to a recent three-year data sample.

The earthquake occurred at a depth of 4.3 miles. Did you feel this earthquake? Consider reporting what you felt to the USGS.

Find out what to do before, and during, an earthquake near you by reading our five-step earthquake preparedness guide.

The first version of this story was automatically generated by Quakebot, a computer application that monitors the latest earthquakes detected by the USGS. A Times editor reviewed the post before it was published. If you’re interested in learning more about the system, visit our list of frequently asked questions.