Local woman visiting California feels shake of 7.1 magnitude earthquake
A Wichita woman was visiting family in California when a 7.1 magnitude earthquake shook the southern part of the state Friday night.
Alexis Cunningham recalls the moments the earthquake hit.
"Wow, it feels like someone is in the back of our car just shaking our car," said Cunningham.
She and her family were roughly four hours from the epicenter, but could still feel the shake.
Timeline of Earthquake:
RIDGECREST, Calif - The Latest on Southern California's strongest earthquake in 20 years (all times local):
An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.1 has jolted Southern California, but there are no immediate reports of damage or injuries.
The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake hit at 8:19 p.m. Friday and was centered 11 miles from Ridgecrest, where a magnitude 6.4 quake struck on Thursday. The agency initially said the earthquake had a magnitude of 7.1.
The quake was felt downtown as a rolling motion that seemed to last at least a half-minute. It was felt as far away as Las Vegas, and the USGS says it also was felt in Mexico.
If the preliminary magnitude is correct, it would be the largest Southern California quake in 20 years.
Seismologists say there have been 1,700 aftershocks in the wake of the strongest earthquake to hit Southern California in 20 years but the chances of another large temblor are diminishing.
A magnitude 5.4 quake at 4:07 a.m. Friday is so far the strongest aftershock of Thursday's 6.4 quake, which struck in the Mojave Desert near the town of Ridgecrest.
Zachary Ross of the California Institute of Technology says the number of aftershocks might be slightly higher than average. He also says a quake of that size could continue producing aftershocks for years.
The quake caused some damage to buildings and roads in and around Ridgecrest.
However, seismologists say it's unlikely the quake will affect any fault lines away from the immediate area, such as the mighty San Andreas.
The city of Los Angeles is planning to reduce the threshold for public notifications by its earthquake early warning app, but officials say it was in the works before Southern California's big earthquake Thursday.
The ShakeAlert LA app was designed to notify users of magnitudes of 5.0 or greater and when a separate intensity scale predicts potentially damaging shaking.
Robert de Groot of the U.S. Geological Survey says lowering the magnitude to 4.5 was already being worked on and had been discussed with LA as recently as a day before Thursday's magnitude 6.4 quake centered in the Mojave Desert.
The shaking intensity levels predicted for LA were below damaging levels, so an alert was not triggered.
Mayor's office spokeswoman Andrea Garcia also says the lower magnitude threshold has been in the planning stages and an update to the system is expected this month.