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California

Earthquake batters Trona: Rockslides cut off town; water is scarce

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Rockslides Friday night near Trona, Calif.
(Ivan Amerson)

The small town of Trona, Calif., suffered more damage from Friday night’s 7.1 magnitude earthquake and was inaccessible because of rockslides, residents said.

Trona resident Ivan Amerson said there was “significant damage,” with some houses knocked off their foundations. State officials said they had heard reports of at least one structure collapse. The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said there were numerous gas leaks and that deputies were helping with evacuations.

Ridgecrest police said Trona is in need of water and urged people to make donations at the police station.

Caltrans said Highway 178 in the Kern River Canyon area was closed because of rockslides. Just before 1 a.m. Saturday, Kern County announced that Highway 178 through the canyon had been cleared in both directions, according to bakersfield.com.

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Trona is near the epicenter of Thursday’s 6.4 magnitude temblor, which damaged roads and some homes.

The town has about 1,500 residents, many of whom work at the Searles Valley Minerals plant or the local high school.

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Damage Friday night on a road from Trona to Ridgecrest.
(U.S. Geological Survey)

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Another, stronger quake in Ridgecrest shakes Southern California, causing more damage »

After Thursday’s quake, officials said their main priority was checking the industrial plant.

The site produces materials such as boric acid, sodium carbonate, sodium sulfate and several specialty forms of borax used in soaps and other industrial materials.


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