No, you are not imagining it. If you live in the Ridgecrest/Searles Valley area of California and thought you felt a tremblor, you did.
As of this moment, over 550 small earthquakes measuring magnitude 2.5 and higher have been recorded by the USGS for July 6, 2019.
Little Lake has felt more severe quakes – a M 4.9, 4.6 and 4.5 – and the Searles Valley area registered a 4.6. Even Nevada has experienced the aftershocks of the strong M 7.1 that hit this part of southern California yesterday.
Most are shallow, at a depth of 1 to 6 km or less than four miles below the Earth’s surface. (1Km = .6214 mile). And the great percentage of these are just barely felt, registering under M 3.0. Still, the multiplicity is teeth-chattering and Kern County residents are on edge. Their little piece of earth has now been dubbed the “Earthquake Capitol of the World,” not a proud moniker.
These tremblors are clustered just south of the Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) China Lake – the epicenter of both the 6.4 and the 7.1 earthquakes – in the following vicinities: Ridgecrest, Searles Valley and Little Lake with shakes in Trona and Coso on the NE edge of the China Lake military base.
Interestingly, this northern boundary of the Mojave Desert encompasses the largest and oldest collection of rock art in the Northern Hemisphere. Located within the Coso Range Canyons, the thousands of petroglyphs were declared a National Historic Landmark in 1964 and are protected by the NAWS, which arranges tours when not testing “cutting-edge weapons systems for the warfighter.”
Another twenty or so shakes have been added to the USGS page since starting this post.
KTLA, the local news channel, is keeping Californians as calm as possible with a flow of news: Earthquake Safety Tips and briefings from Kern county officials.
The NAWS China Lake announced that it is “not mission capable” until further notice and evacuated the million acre base. No injuries or damage reported. Mission essential personnel have base access and a hotline was posted (1-844-523-2025).
Stay calm and be prepared.
“Every earthquake makes another earthquake more likely, and that’s what we’re seeing right here,” says USGS Seismologist Lucy Jones.
Just before the day ended, the USGS recorded a 4.5 quake 22km outside of Ridgecrest, followed by a 3.5 to conclude a shaky July 6, 2019.
Last word from Caltech seismologist Dr. Egill Hauksson: There is a 27% chance that Southern Californians will feel “one or two temblors magnitude 6 or higher within the next week,” and there is “a 3% chance for an earthquake magnitude 7 or higher.”