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Magnitude 6.9 Earthquake Strikes Southern California; Sports Events Disrupted by Quake. Aired 11:50p-1a ET

Aired July 6, 2019 - 23:50   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[23:50:00]

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.

CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): We have breaking news of another major earthquake in Southern California. This is an even bigger than the 6.4 quake just a day before.

Data from the U.S. Geological Survey shows that a magnitude 6.9 and about the same location and that puts it near the town of Ridgecrest, 240 kilometers and 150 miles north of Los Angeles in the Mojave Desert.

A 6.4 quake caused widespread damage in Ridgecrest, around 30,000 people. That quake was felt from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. The early indications it was once again felt in Las Vegas. We'll show you pictures of that in just a moment.

We want to get to CNN correspondents joining us from Southern California with the latest. Let's start with Sara Sidner she's in Los Angeles.

Tell us what you were in what you fell?

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm inside something that people love to do Fridays here or whenever the Dodgers play, here at Dodger Stadium here in Los Angeles. What we are more than 150 miles from where the epicenter is at this particular quake.

You could fear the entire area swaying in everyone in this stands felt it and for just the second the game was stopping for a minute but the fans cheered their way through it, Angelinos who have lived through these and it was strong, all felt it but the reaction was in fear, the reaction was the earthquake and people started to cheer here when it was over. It lasted a few seconds, it certainly felt stronger than the first one I experienced Thursday, while inside the office in Hollywood. That caused our 15 floor building to sway. It caused light poles to sway.

Here in Los Angeles it was certainly being felt but the initial reading of 7.1, that is a large quake that can cause significant damage. It's been downgraded to a (INAUDIBLE). Seismologists were clear in saying it was a 1:20 chance at the earthquake, the largest earthquake that we've seen here in Southern California in probably the last two decades of a 6.4 on Thursday may have been a foreshock of something bigger.

Well, now it's saying it's a 6.9 magnitude at this point. That is the case of a 1:20 chance of happening and the earthquake has happened there in the area.

We are not yet hearing damage reports and we're looking closely because all of their apparatus came in from the earthquake on Thursday, they've called in assistance from outside of Ridgecrest, which is a small community of 27,000 to 30,000 people. It's a very small community compared to L.A. County, which has more than 10 billion people living in it.

But we've had to, in the 6.4 earthquake, evacuate about 15 patients, some coming to the L.A. area. Now we have to go back there (INAUDIBLE) more significant damage in Ridgecrest. There was some damage in Ridgecrest and it wasn't widespread, all over the place. There was a crack on the highway that was fixed in an hour. There was some damage to a couple of mobile homes which came off their foundations.

There were a few people who are calling in their injuries but video of what you've seen and the way it felt was significant. You saw all sorts of things --

(CROSSTALK)

VANIER: Sara, let me interrupt you for a second because we're putting up video right now of a Summer League basketball game being played in Las Vegas. At the time when the quake was happening, they had to interrupt the game. We're seeing closeups right now of the clock and the screen shaking.

(CROSSTALK)

SIDNER: That video from this one or from --

VANIER: -- no, this is the game now being played just moments ago. They had to interrupt a game. All eyes are on that game because --

[23:55:00]

VANIER: -- of who was playing. They just had to interrupt it. I don't recall ever having an NBA Summer League game interrupted before.

SIDNER: Here's the thing, we need to keep in mind where the epicenter is. It was closer to Las Vegas than it is to Los Angeles. Again, we are 150-plus miles away and Las Vegas certainly felt it the first time.

So it would not be a surprise that it shook very strongly there as well. These things start to ripple out, so you'll feel it most where the epicenter is and will go out. Those people calling it a jolt and we felt movement and that ripple or swaying feeling that you get after an earthquake occurs. VANIER: Tell me a little bit more about that moment where you were. You were at a Dodgers game and you said people felt it, they recognized it for what it was, I guess, which was a very strong tremor. But they stayed.

SIDNER: Yes, people here in Los Angeles have felt these before. They've lived here for any significant amount of time, they have felt this before. To be clear, there are plenty of people here who have lived here their whole lives, who have never felt an earthquake this strong. Because it is the first time that an earthquake of this size had hit Southern California in about 20 years.

The initial reaction is people are trying to assess whether or not they were feeling what they think they're feeling. Everyone looks at each other, they say, earthquake, yes, and the reaction was that there initially stopping one another and almost like they were cheering.

But it did go on for some time, it's unnerving. You're not quite sure if this is going to be even bigger but it did not get scary enough inside the stadium. Yes, you definitely felt it sway, we were in the very high seats there and you could feel the sway. All of our neighbors sitting next to us, we all started talking.

The first thing in the city is people go to USGS, try to figure out just how strong it was. It means something very significant to the folks, knowing about the aftershocks that we would probably feel this far out.

But when everyone heard that it was 7.1 and then downgraded to a 6.9, everyone recognized that it could be a real problem for wherever the epicenter is. But the game went on --

VANIER: Well, Sara, since you mentioned that word epicenter, stand by, Sara Sidner, thank you very much for your reporting from Los Angeles.

I want to go to Alex Field, she's near the epicenter in the town of Ridgecrest in California, about 150 miles northeast of where Sara was at that game.

Alex, what was it like?

What did you feel?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Cyril, we're actually pretty much in the fog. I can tell you that it was one of the most profoundly terrifying moments of my life. We've been here since last night, our team was sent here to cover Thursday's earthquake.

We knew that there were hundreds of aftershocks and were very much prepared for those aftershocks. Our crew, we were sitting there and we felt a significant aftershock. We started to look around and see the children and families in the restaurant.

We looked up above us and saw we were under a number of hanging light fixtures, exposed beams and pipes in the restaurant and large, decorative pieces of sheet metal. That's when we had a quick chat with each other about, OK, what happens if the next one comes?

And with our colleagues here, Ben and Sara (ph), and planned to just get under the table and we're looking at the children and wondering if parents should be taking them out of the restaurant and that's when it hit.

I've never experienced anything like this in my life. I covered a series of earthquakes in Taiwan; been through some smaller earthquakes but nothing like this ever. The three of us quickly slid under the table and held onto it. We could feel the glasses smashing above us.

We're OK, nothing but maybe a minor scrape. There was screaming in the restaurant, the lights quickly went out. You could hear parents and kids, absolute chaos, I couldn't tell you how long the shaking went on for, because as we hear from so many people who live through this, when you are experiencing it, you just don't have the right gauge on it.

For us it felt like forever. I would imagine it was a matter of seconds. But we were under the table until the shaking stopped. I think I said out loud --

[00:00:00]

FIELD: -- at one point, we're going to be OK.

VANIER: Sara (sic), we're starting to get the initial videos and pictures here. Everyone's posting things that we're starting to see from the effects of that tremor. What we're seeing is an impressive fire. This is not from the yesterday. This is from now.

This is from a -- I'm waiting to get the location. It may or may not be Ridgecrest, California, where -- Alex, it is Ridgecrest. I'm getting the confirmation.

FIELD: I think you might be looking at video that we sent in. I can't see it; we're working on cell phones here and we're in pitch back.

(CROSSTALK)

VANIER: It's a very impressive explosion, what appears to be a house fire. I know yesterday authorities in Ridgecrest told us this were several, numerous loose and broken gas pipelines. That's always a danger.

FIELD: Sure. We certainly saw (INAUDIBLE) out of the restaurant and everyone was able to get out. We headed back to the neighborhood that we had been in earlier today. The neighborhood that was more affected by Thursday's quake.

A number of mobile homes and trailer homes there, there were a couple people screaming they were trapped inside their house. We helped one woman out and helped another man.

(CROSSTALK) VANIER: Excuse me.

This is what you heard as you left the restaurant?

FIELD: This is what we experienced, Cyril. As soon as we regrouped outside the restaurant I was able to find Sara (ph) then ad we headed to the neighborhood down the street of the mobile homes. There was a woman shouting she was trapped in her home. Our colleague, Ben, went in to help to her out, helped another man out as well. And that's when we started to see just down the street --

(CROSSTALK)

VANIER: Alex, I'm going interrupt you. We're getting a briefing by the USGS.

LUCY JONES, SEISMOLOGIST: -- actually is a little farther away from the Los Angeles area. My expectation is Ridgecrest is having a pretty difficult time tonight. It is a foreshock. When an aftershock becomes bigger than the main shock, we change the name and call the first one a foreshock.

So everything before the 7.1 would be considered a foreshock to this earthquake. This is an earthquake sequence. It will be ongoing. It is clearly a very energetic sequence. So there's no reason to think that we can't have more large earthquakes.

The largest aftershock on average to a 7.1 would be a magnitude 6. So another 6.0 similar to yesterday would not be surprising to anybody.

We don't have a lot more information. You can see on the map where the locations of the earthquake and aftershock are. The blue are all earthquakes that happened before the 7.1, the last 24 hours.

And so you can see this basically happened at the end of the zone that moved previously. We're seeing a few earthquakes way up to the northwest. We know the fault's extending that far. It may well come back down to where the 6.4 was.

We can guess at the size of the fault from the magnitude. A 7.1 is going to be 40-50 kilometers, something like 25-30 miles long. What we're seeing between the main shock and those ones up to the northwest is about 15 miles. So probably involving the lower part, too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Just to add very briefly, actually when this occurred, we were on a call with geologists from the U.S. Geological Survey and California Geological Survey, who are out in the field. And so they are going to go out and start looking and seeing what actually happened to the ground.

The earthquake yesterday did cause some surface rupture. I would highly expect the quake tonight is also going to break up to the ground surface. So we will be getting information from them, hopefully later this evening. And we'll relay that information to you as we can.

QUESTION: Ongoing, typically how long is that ongoing.

JONES: A magnitude 7 usually aftershocks lasting for years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. The expectation is we'll have aftershocks tonight and will continue on. We will continue; we'll come back in 30 minutes as we get information and analyze the data. Thank you very much.

QUESTION: How much bigger is a 7.1 --

QUESTION: What's the --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good evening, everyone. You're watching Lucy Jones --

VANIER: All right. You've just been hearing officials from the U.S. Geological Survey and what they told us what this is an earthquake sequence. What happened --

[00:05:00]

VANIER: -- yesterday was a foreshock for today, which was a much bigger quake. Ranking at 6.9 and they are not ruling out there could be a bigger tremor or bigger quake after this. They say it's an ongoing sequence and this is a strong one.

Let's go to Paul Vercammen. He's in Ridgecrest as well.

Paul, I have been speaking to Alex. She said it was the most terrifying moment of her life. She's covered earthquakes before.

What did you see?

All right. We'll go back to him in a moment. We'll also be speaking in a second to Karen Maginnis, our meteorologist. She's with us now.

You were listening to what the USGS were saying, an ongoing earthquake sequence.

KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: That was one of the most interest things I have heard out of that conference from noted seismologist Dr. Lucy Jones. She all along said we have a about a one in 20 chance that we're looking at a stronger earthquake. I thought OK, this could happen in a couple days. I thought we may have been in the clear.

Clearly I was wrong. They have now revised the intensity of the earthquake to 6.9 magnitude. Initially it was 7.1. She did say this was a very dynamic situation and it has been because we have seen hundreds and hundreds of foreshocks, all those events that we saw yesterday were foreshocks, including the 6.4 magnitude that we reported that happened just after 10:30 am local time.

The folks in L.A. felt it. People in Bakersfield and in Las Vegas. This is 6.9. And we're still getting and collecting some data. She said there might be a stronger one than this. This is not part of the San Andreas fault. That is the fault line.

There are all kind of tiny little faults across the region. Let me go ahead. I'll zoom in across the region and give you a view. We'll zoom in.

This is the Ridgecrest area. Trona is nearby, a very tiny town. There's also the Naval Air Station near China Lake, a huge facility. And yesterday's epicenter occurred just on that particular base, the naval weapons base. This one we're trying to get the exact location.

Look at the pattern here. Hundreds and hundreds of reports of foreshocks. Everything is now is an aftershock. She referenced some of the activity that is more towards the northwest of this epicenter and thinking maybe this is the part of the fault line that extends further than they had anticipated.

VANIER: Karen, thank you. We can go to Paul. He's in Ridgecrest.

What did you feel, what's the situation?

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Just moments before you tossed to me we felt another aftershock. We're in another part of Ridgecrest. You can see down there the flashing lights of fire engines. A house was completely ablaze. I took a still photograph of it earlier. They did quick work to put it out.

This is the two step you get in earthquakes. The ground ruptures and at times you will then see the rupturing of gas lines and fires that follow. It's strongly suspected this is one of the earthquake-induced gas fires. People around the neighborhood saying this was --

(AUDIO GAP)

VERCAMMEN: -- that previous 6.4 earthquake saying that it just rattled the neighborhood here. When we were driving, beginning to wrap up. We were on the street and everything was rocking and swaying, extreme intensity.

Compare it to Northridge earthquake of 25 years ago and remarkably to me, this is a quake that in L.A. killed almost 60 people, injured almost 9,000. This felt stronger. It was a serious strong jolt.

And people came out of their houses. They had the look of terror because it had been all week long that they had been suffering through this. In the last couple days they had been suffering through the quakes. The next thing they're looking for is house fires. And they did a good job of putting this one out. Back to you.

VANIER: Paul, thank you. That is great reporting. We did see the pictures that Paul took. That was the house on fire that we showed you. That was one of the gas fires he was describing. Let me recap. It's a few minutes after 9:00 pm local time in California. It's after midnight on the East Coast.

[00:10:00] VANIER: And a short while ago, a 7.1 magnitude earthquake was felt. I pause on that number because it's just been updated. We had it as 6.9 the early read. That's been upgraded to 7.1. That tells you how much stronger it is compared to yesterday's 6.4.

We're realizing that yesterday was a foreshock, with today seemingly being the main thing. The USGS are not ruling out there maybe a stronger quake to come even today could end up being the foreshock to something else. An earthquake sequence that is ongoing. We just got the explanation from our meteorologist on that.

I want to go to Alex Field also in Ridgecrest.

Tell me more. You told me of the scene you saw when you left the restaurant where you were. When you fell the quake, you went out and went to the areas that you thought was vulnerable. Tell me again what you saw.

FIELD: What we saw were people yelling inside their homes. Some saying they were trapped. We were, of course, trying to call 9-1-1, unable to get through. Our photographer got to two homes to help people out.

We saw heavy smoke and flames down the block. The power is out. It is very dark here; this happened just around the time of sundown. As we were walking through the neighborhood we began to smell gas. We backed out of the neighborhood.

We're now in the parking lot of the regional hospital here, the hospital that was affected by the earthquake earlier in the week. Parts of the hospital were closed. But there is a triage center they've set up outside of the hospital. And we can see not just ambulances coming in but a number of cars who have been able to get out and seeking help here.

VANIER: Tell me more about the triage center. The hospital announced yesterday it wasn't running at full capacity because of the quake Thursday. You're there now. Saying the triage center -- this is small town. Talking about 30,000 people. Give us a rough number of volume of the people coming in.

FIELD: The volume is -- population about 28,000-30,000. We're seeing -- I can't really begin to give you an estimate of how many people. Again, it's dark. But we have seen a few ambulances come through. We are being pushed back; a chaotic situation here. It's quite dark.

We certainly have seen a number of people come by and getting help. I have not seen any injuries that appear to be terribly great. It's way too soon to tell. When I was in the restaurant where all the glasses were smashing and tables were falling and things were falling off the walls, people were screaming. Some did appear to be injured.

One man was screaming he believes his wife broke her leg. It's certainly going to take time to get a handle on the injuries. It seems very clear people are beginning to arrive here looking for help. VANIER: I want to give our viewers context. I said this 7.1 earthquake today was a lot stronger than the 6.4 yesterday. I can put a number on that now. It is 11 times stronger, today's quake compared to yesterday. That's the information that's coming in.

That certainly puts perspective on what just happened to you and all the people in Ridgecrest. Also, minutes ago you, three minutes before I spoke to you, Paul said he felt another aftershock. Did you feel that?

FIELD: We felt it as well. Standing in the parking lot in front of the hospital, we all felt it. We were certain of that. We expect that to continue.

So I think people are just navigating without any power on. They're concerned about utilities and downed power lines and concerned about gas leaks, things of that nature. That fire we saw in the neighborhood, you have to be prepared for the possibility of an aftershock and people now potentially in their homes and no longer knowing if the homes are structurally safe or sound.

(CROSSTALK)

VANIER: I was going to ask you, are people staying in their homes?

Or is it one of the situations where they're going out?

FIELD: There was a neighbor by neighbor effort to evacuate on the street that we were on. Again, it's tough to get around to. On the street we were on, with the mobile homes, people were in the streets, yelling to each other. Get out. Come out now. Stay away from the power lines. Stay in the middle of the street. There was absolutely --

[00:15:00]

FIELD: -- the sense of urgency that people needed to leave their homes. They were concerned that you could see another aftershock or there could be individual damage or something falling over. But absolutely a desire to help neighbors get out and get to some kind of safety.

VANIER: Absolutely and that's what people need to do, get to safety. You're right to point out obviously the structural viability of the homes, especially in Ridgecrest, is of paramount importance. We'll come back to you before long.

I want to go back so Sara in L.A.

We now know that today -- that yesterday was just a foreshock for today. And today's quake was 11 times stronger than what was felt yesterday.

SIDNER: Yes, I want to give you some perspective. For those folks and people around the world saw what happened in 1994 here in Northridge, where the earthquake there significant damage, people killed in a very populated area. One of the images in my mind is when an overpass collapsed.

That was a 6.7 quake. OK. That gives you idea of the potential of damage. The only good thing in this that this is not in a heavily populated area. But still, 28,000 people are feeling this at the epicenter. That is significant.

Going back to 1989, the Loma Prieta quake, it happened in the San Francisco Bay area, significant damage there. Lots of fires. The part of the Bay Bridge collapsing. A freeway collapsed on top of itself. So this is stronger even than that earthquake.

Those images are set in people's minds when they hear earthquake because those are the last really large earthquakes in really populated areas. Now you're seeing one of a 7.1. They have revised the magnitude of the quake. And that is a significantly large earthquake. So the potential for damage as we talk about it growing, that's exactly right, 11 times.

As you heard from the seismologist, there are going to be large aftershocks. It's just expected. The large aftershocks that are going to affect could be a 6. That is if this isn't a foreshock again. The renowned seismologist Lucy Jones made sure to say over and over again you do not know whether or not you're dealing with a foreshock or the main event.

VANIER: Yes. She said at this stage what we know is this is part of a sequence. We don't know if there's something stronger coming or whether it will climb down from here.

What do Angelinos need to do?

They're 150 miles from the epicenter.

What precautions do they need to take?

SIDNER: So when we got the first feeling of an earthquake, it was a 4.5. It was 6.4, the first one Thursday in Ridgecrest epicenter there. Los Angeles felt about a 4.5. What it did is remind everybody that lives in earthquake prone areas, whether it is here in the U.S. or across the world, that you must be prepared for these things.

For example, people are starting to get water, starting to talk about the things they need as far as supplies just in case their supply chain is cut off. Everyone knows to make sure to have a full tank of gas. If it happens on the road, you may have places to go around.

And remember when you feel the quakes, the best thing to do is to get underneath something that is sturdy. A kitchen table works fine. Seismologists tell you, even if it's something kind of cheap, that isn't a big fancy table, keeping your head safe. People get hurt from falling debris. It could be a cup falling off a shelf or a painting or a picture and the glass breaks. If it breaks over your head, you're dealing with an injury.

To try to keep yourself safe, getting underneath something like a kitchen table is really important to remember when you have these kinds of events. There's also the fear of gas leaks. There's a real and present danger there. We see in many of the events, certainly that happened in Northridge. That happened during the Loma Prieta quake --

[00:20:00]

SIDNER: -- for anyone who lived here at the time. Everyone remembers seeing the marina on fire. And that was partly because you saw gas lines broken. Pipes break; they burst. You get fires. And that could cause quite a bit of damage.

You can have explosions as well. People are reminded, where is -- where can I turn off my gas if I feel this quake. There are many homes that have been fitted with something that automatically, if they feel a hard enough shake, will switch the gas line off and keep homes safe.

VANIER: Sara, I'll ask you to pause. The USGS are briefing us again.

JONES: -- one of the fires out of the first earthquake. This is going to have been more intense shaking. OK, this came through just as a 3.5.

QUESTION: This was all on the same fault line as the 6.4?

JONES: Well, yes, the same fault system. It does appear to have multiple strands to it. We have already seen the two perpendicular ones. I think it got the magnitude wrong, because, yes, unless it hasn't come through yet.

QUESTION: Dr. Jones, can you explain the ShakeAlertLA again?

Some people just got the initial report that it quote-unquote wasn't working. Can you explain again that --

JONES: They're -- let's let the USGS handle that one.

So the system worked.

Oh, that was a 5.1.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, the system -- the shake alert system worked on both the USGS side and on the ShakeAlertLA side. The reason why alerts or notifications didn't go out to L.A. County is that the threshold for shaking was set above what the estimated shaking would be.

So it was just the way that the system was designed. In fact, the same thing happened again tonight. My understanding; the alerts didn't go out on ShakeAlertLA. The magnitude that was estimated with the early warning system was 6.2. So the initial magnitude estimate was too low. Consequently, the intensities were below that threshold.

So the system is not perfect. But, again, what was experienced here in Pasadena, L.A. area. These were not damaging ground motions. In Ridgecrest, those are damaging ground motions. So those folks are feeling it.

QUESTION: What's the chance of another large quake tonight?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a 5 percent chance that this could be followed by a larger quake.

(CROSSTALK)

JONES: The number of 5 percent is usually for a few days. The most likely time is within a day. We just saw 30 hours or something.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: You don't recall earthquakes sequence where a 7.1 was followed by a bigger earthquake?

JONES: No, no, no, I just done remember one that's had -- in California that's had that series. Places elsewhere in the world, there was a 8.5 that was a foreshock to a 9.5 in Chile.

So there is nothing about the magnitude that says it can't be a foreshock.

QUESTION: But in California, along the same -- the seismicity of this state. You have never seen anything follow a 7.1?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Boy, yes. But that doesn't mean --

(CROSSTALK)

JONES: We have in Nevada. Fairfield earthquakes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The take away here, as we have just seen between yesterday and today, quakes that -- when you say are main shocks can actually be foreshocks to larger quakes.

JONES: And we won't know until it does or doesn't happen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a small percentage.

QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) for the most part is a 6.4?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, 17 kilometers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, so the epicenter is a little bit deeper. We do have geologists in the field. We haven't got reports back. But they'll be able to go out and --

JONES: Also, remember --

QUESTION: -- 50-10 miles?

JONES: So that's the 10 miles. It's 10 miles down, where the one yesterday was more like 6 or 7 miles down. However, a bigger earthquake also involves a larger fault. So it may very well -- probably this is coming to the surface. And... QUESTION: Is there --

JONES: What you're really worried about is are we going to trigger something outside of the region?

Probably not.

QUESTION: Why?

JONES: Because we're too far away. The ability to trigger another earthquake is very spatially defined. The most likely place to trigger it is at the same fault. As you go away with distance, it's much less likely.

QUESTION: QUESTION: How far --

[00:25:00]

QUESTION: -- is that from the San Andreas?

JONES: Quite a ways. It's not even on that figure. It's over 100 miles to the San Andreas from this location.

QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE)?

JONES: The Garlock fault is a lot closer and it's another long fault. If we were triggering something really big, it might be a source for it. This is like when Landers happened near the San Andreas. And we said if we're going to set off something bigger, that's only the San Andreas ram (ph).

Of course it didn't happen. But it was a possibility, a low probability possibility. The Garlock luckily really runs through some of the most isolated parts of California.

QUESTION: You said yesterday there were two faults making this L pattern. There was the lower leg and now the top part.

JONES: It's the northwest part that's extended and grown whereas the southwest striking one doesn't seem to have had more earthquakes.

QUESTION: Is that a surprise at all to you, that this fault system was capable of this kind of earthquake?

JONES: No. There was a magnitude 7.5 in 1872 in the Owens Valley. There have been lots of 6s. There's this whole series -- when I said Nevada, 1915 and 1954. And I don't have the magnitudes in my head this time but they were 7s.

There were series of earthquakes with several events within them, from 6 to 7. In Mammoth in 1980, there were four magnitude 6.5s in one sequence in about 10 days. This part of California is characterized by these types of groups of earthquakes, there might be several that end up larger; the first is often not the biggest.

Knowing which is the biggest meaning waiting until we see we aren't getting another one.

QUESTION: What was the last time we had something sizable in Garland?

JONES: Not in historic record.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Prehistoric.

JONES: Prehistoric.

QUESTION: This extending about 25 miles, you said earlier.

JONES: That's an approximate guess, off of looking at the figures, which are having trouble coming up.

QUESTION: That northwestern fault, is that the one moving into China Lake?

JONES: The southwest striking one goes from China Lake down to Ridgecrest. The northwest is going up through the China Lake.

QUESTION: I know that there has been trouble trying to get geologists onto base.

Have you made progress?

JONES: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, actually, our geologists have contacted the Navy and are able to get on the base with some limited access. That was prior to tonight's event. So presumably -- well, I would expect there may be further damage on the naval base. We don't know yet. I haven't gotten reports.

But my suspicion is the geologists will be able to get out there quickly and look at that potential rupture.

The other comment here, following on what Dr. Jones was saying, When we have events that -- where a main shock becomes a foreshock, typically the triggering is relatively close. That's actually what we saw here. These two earthquakes are very -- relatively closely located.

The triggering typically doesn't happen at a great distance. More typically, it's close by.

JONES: I can't think of any example where we have seen this type of foreshock triggering that isn't within just matter of a few kilometers. The famous widespread one was Elmore Ranch and Superstition Hills, a 6.2 that was on a southwest striking fault and then set off a 6.6 on a northwest striking fault.

The epicenter of Elmore Ranch was here but the fault extended down the Superstition Hills. And what we were seeing, aftershocks pounding at the Superstition Hills fault up into the time the earthquake happened, the main shock. We have a similar situation here. We have had aftershocks along the

fault. We had the 5.4. breaking through a big toward the northwest. And now we've had it again. We now see more aftershocks up to the very northwest end. And chances are we stop now. It's possible we'll continue to extend up to the northwest.

QUESTION: You said a 7.1 magnitude, you can expect aftershock sequence that lasts for over a year.

JONES: Yes. The 7.3 Landers earthquake, the last magnitude 5 that 1992 earthquake happened in 1998, so six years after the main shock. We should be expecting to record earthquakes here for a long time.

QUESTION: Can you describe that terrain of where this aftershock was or whether the -- where the main shock was?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, the terrain is very isolated. It's desert. Not a lot of population. So actually, in a sense, for being able to get people out there and look at it, there's a good opportunity. Also because it's not densely populated, the chance of having damage to structures and injuries is much lower.

But it is still very -- it's hard rock. These are faults that are breaking --

[12:30:00]

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- through hard rock. That's why they create these waves that we feel strongly down here in Los Angeles.

(CROSSTALK)

JONES: So the blue means it happened more than an hour ago but less than 24 hours ago. You can actually see the yellow underneath. We're more than 24 hours since the main shock. But all the blue dots are the aftershocks are over 24 hours. And that's the red ones are within the last hour. The main shock has already turned blue. That's right there.

The epicenter of the 6.4 was basically at the corner. And we think ruptured -- clearly ruptured to the southwest, probably also some rupture to the northwest in the same event. Maybe in the aftershock afterwards.

Then the 5.4 aftershock was the one this morning, located in there, moved the fault further. We have the 7. Look at the cluster to the northwest. We think -- right now we aren't getting many of the aftershocks recording yet. The system is pretty strung out.

And so pretty sure that is a continuous aftershock zone. That is the extent of the fault. Just the length of the fault, a magnitude 7.1, we would expect it's probably at least about 25 miles long. That would imply probably the whole length, from where the 6.4 happened to the aftershocks are.

QUESTION: Is China Lake up there? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, so the naval --

JONES: Right. The naval air station is that whole area. So this is all within the naval air station. There's a fault system. So we see the little faults on the ground; rather than naming each piece separately, it's called the Little Lake fault system. So these are --

QUESTION: So the length of the fault itself has been defined by the 7.1 earthquake.

JONES: No. We don't know.

QUESTION: You don't know?

JONES: Right. If you look at the map, we can see there. One of the things we can do if we got a bit of a break and found stuff, we could pull out -- we'll try to get out the state geology map and really see the detailed map that's been done in here backhand. But notice there's a little string of --

(AUDIO GAP)

JONES: And it was not mapped as a throughgoing fault. It was a little pieces through here. And we have more little pieces further up. No, we can't say all the faults are used up. But most likely if we were to see more going on, I would be much -- I would think more likely we're heading to the northwest than turning around to the south again.

QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) the surface rupture, how close would that be to the epicenter?

Are they tied together?

JONES: They are the same -- the epicenter is only the place where the fault started to move. It's not the location of the earthquake. The earthquake happens over the whole surface. If I were going to try to tear this, I can't do this. What I would do is start a tear here and then rip down this way. And that's -- this would be the epicenter. This would be the fault surface.

The earthquake is happening over this whole fault. We think that what's happening here is a fault about 25 miles long. We started at the end the part, that hadn't broken before the 7.1., potentially it ruptured in both directions. About 80 percent of earthquakes are unilateral rupture in one direction and 20 percent in both directions.

QUESTION: So on the ones (INAUDIBLE) there was a left lateral slip of about 6 inches. Can we expect that to grow?

JONES: That's actually the left lateral one is down on the southwest striking fault. So down here -- and it's not at all clear that part moved in the 7.1.

QUESTION: Do you know what kind of earthquake it was yet?

JONES: What do you mean by kind of earthquake?

(CROSSTALK)

JONES: It's a strike slip. Yes, that's something we can get from the seismic records.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just to follow on with that the event yesterday was left lateral strike slip. Which actually released some compression on what we think is the fault that ruptured this evening in the 7.1. This -- that presumably is a right lateral strike slip. But basically motion horizontally.

And again, with this magnitude and this length, the expectation of having surface rupture is much greater. And by being able to go out and measure it, in a 7.1, I'm thinking back to Landers, there was up to, I don't know, 10 feet of displacement.

JONES: Eighteen feet was the maximum displacement --

[12:35:00]

QUESTION: -- 18 feet of displacement --

JONES: Meaning that the fault ran between you and me.

(CROSSTALK)

VANIER: All right, you're listening to USGS; they're giving us all the details, what we know and the early readings of this earthquake that took place before sometime before 9:00 pm Pacific time, California time.

I want to go to Jessica Kormelink, she's a resident of Ridgecrest where the epicenter of the earthquake is. She was eating dinner when the quake struck.

Jessica, tell us what you felt.

What happened?

JESSICA KORMELINK, RIDGECREST RESIDENT: Well, it was pretty major shaking. And my house, it like waved.

Yes?

VANIER: Yes, we can hear you.

KORMELINK: OK. Anyway, so I missed the first one. I was out of town. And I came home to very little destruction. And tonight I lost a lot. But my house is OK. And I'm OK. I have friends that were here that are OK.

VANIER: What about the neighborhood, what about the neighbors?

KORMELINK: Everybody was outside. We all gathered outside and I think everybody is OK. Maybe our neighborhood had -- there's (INAUDIBLE) houses but there's no fires. We have (INAUDIBLE) here. We all have electricity.

VANIER: Are you speaking to us from your house?

(CROSSTALK)

KORMELINK: I'm sorry?

VANIER: Are you speaking to us from inside your house?

KORMELINK: No. I'm outside.

VANIER: Is everybody there, all the neighbors outside their house?

KORMELINK: They were. (INAUDIBLE) I'm sitting on the back porch. I think a couple just went back inside. (INAUDIBLE) people are still out.

VANIER: And what about you, would you be comfortable going back inside?

Do you think you can you spend the night inside?

KORMELINK: At the moment, no, because it hasn't stopped rolling. It's like it stops for a minute and then it rolls again. It's pretty bizarre. No. At the moment I'm not comfortable inside.

VANIER: So right now, if I understand, it's you and the neighbors. Most of you outside your homes and just riding through the aftershocks.

KORMELINK: Yes. That's it.

VANIER: What are your plans for the night?

How will you ride it out?

KORMELINK: I don't know. I'll see if it settles down. If it does, I'll sleep in my own bed. I have a door near my -- nearby so I might go out. But I don't know. Right now, stay outside.

VANIER: All right, Jessica Kormelink, speaking to us from Ridgecrest, the town of 28,000, the epicenter of the earthquake. Jessica, thank you very much.

I want to go to another Jessica, Jessica Weston. She's also in Ridgecrest. She's the city editor for Ridgecrest's "The Daily Independent."

What was it like for you?

JESSICA WESTON, "THE DAILY INDEPENDENT": Hi, I was actually in the car with my mom. And it just started bouncing up and down. It was not as scary as the earlier quake, being indoors.

VANIER: Are you saying --

WESTON: Can you hear me?

VANIER: Yes, I can absolutely hear you.

Are you saying it was not as scary as yesterday?

WESTON: No, it wasn't. No, I was joking after the first quake, when the next one comes, I want to be in a car. That was actually -- it was like the car. A brand new car with good shock absorbers. So we just bounced up and down. She pulled to the side of the road. The primary issue was I couldn't get -- the phone service was out. I couldn't find my phone and we tried to call it and I couldn't find it.

So we went back to the restaurant where we had just eaten. And I was taking a dinner break and all of the people in the restaurant were huddled outside of the restaurant. And I said, I think I left my phone here. And the manager wouldn't let me go inside.

And as we were standing around swapping gossip about how big it was, we saw the smoke starting over in the trailer park where the fire was.

VANIER: And we saw pictures. Let's put them up. We saw pictures of a very impressive house fire. Our correspondents telling us about gas leaks and how dangerous they can be in times of earthquakes. And clearly unfortunately that has come to pass, at least one house that we know of.

How much smoke do you see?

(CROSSTALK)

VANIER: Did it look like this was one house or more?

WESTON: Yes, it was a trailer park. I'm guessing it was more than one trailer. It was -- I believe it was a the same trailer park that they were having issues with the trailers earlier. Some of them had collapsed and so forth.

At first there was smoke, like gray smoke. And then there was boom, fire. It was just a couple blocks from where we happened to be when it happened.

[12:40:00]

WESTON: So my mom parked the car and I got out on foot and walked over and took some pictures. And I actually was carrying my --

VANIER: We're seeing the picture now.

WESTON: Yes. That's a cell phone picture. I also had my Canon with me. And I joked as we were walking into the restaurant.

This guy goes, "Why are you bringing your camera in?"

"So if the big one hits while we're eating I can get pictures."

And that turned out to be prophetic. VANIER: So hold, pause there for a second.

So when you walk into the town that, just less than 24 hours before, maybe more, experienced a 6.4 quake and walk in with a camera and say, I have this in case the big one hits.

Do people find it funny?

WESTON: Oh, yes. People thought it was funny. They're tough out here. First of all, they're Californians and they have a sense of humor. People are kind of rattled. Yes. But, yes, they thought it was funny.

VANIER: What are your plans for the night?

I just spoke to a resident; she's outside of her home and not comfortable going back inside. She doesn't know if it's structurally sound.

What about you?

WESTON: I'll attempt to go back to my office and post some stuff and probably -- I'm going to sleep in the car. I already decided that. I decided that last night.

VANIER: Is that what you did last night?

WESTON: No, I just decided -- no, I slept on the mattress on the floor by the front door. And every time there's an aftershock, I jumped up and ran out the door, which most of us did stuff like that. And I decided, you know what, if there's another reason to be concerned, I'll just sleep in the car because the car seems safer. Like I said, they just bounce. It absorbs the shock from the quake. I'm not a seismologist, but it seems how it goes.

VANIER: What about the neighbors?

Are they staying in their homes? Are they outside? Do they feel safe?

WESTON: I saw them coming in and out at the same time I was last night. My mom and I drove by the house to check on it. We were lucky. We escaped a lot of the damage. And my cat survived, thank God.

But my neighbors were all kind of -- as you drive up and down the street, people are standing on the streets. It's warm here. It's warm outside. And everybody is standing around, afraid to go inside.

VANIER: By the way, we were just listening to the USGS officials talking about the alert system. I want to check whether anything trickled down to you.

Did you get an alert before the tremor?

WESTON: No. I had just eaten dinner. I was off the grid for the moment. So, no. I didn't get an alert. I do not have the phone alert system. I probably should.

VANIER: It sounds like you should.

WESTON: But I do have county alerts. I don't believe I got one, either. I think my phone service was squirrely before this started. I think the phone service may have been problematic.

VANIER: Last question.

Do you have power?

WESTON: I do at home. And my mom is driving. I just drove up to my office and it also has power. But most of the town is dark.

VANIER: All right. Jessica, thank you so much for your time. Thanks for sharing that and for the picture. We'll speak again. Thank you.

I want to go to Alex Field in Ridgecrest.

Are you still at the hospital where you were when we spoke?

FIELD: Yes. We are just outside the hospital which I will remind you was closed because of the earthquake on Thursday. Certainly they have set up an area out here. They were triaging people. Ambulances arriving, other people arriving on foot and by car.

They pushed us back from a distance from the medical tent in order to protect the privacy of the patients. Don't forget this happened -- maybe about 8 o'clock at night. Some people getting into bed, maybe having dinner. This caught people off guard even though they were dealing with the hundreds of aftershocks all day long.

To have something of this magnitude rock this area, it was stunning. So you are certainly going to see more people who have injuries who need help.

We don't have a handle on how many injuries there are at this point or how extensive the injuries are and whether or not people are still trapped in the buildings they were in. The immediate minutes following the quake, we saw a couple people yelling for help from their homes. That was within the first few minutes. It will take time to get the update from law enforcement bout who could be in need of assistance.

[12:45:00]

VANIER: I hear helicopters. I know you don't have precise numbers of people seeking treatment and might be injured.

Do you see a lot of people coming in, needing help at the hospital?

Or is it more of a contingency situation and preparing for anything that could happen?

FIELD: There are a couple -- a handful, a dozen people, who appeared were getting help and treatment. I'm really hesitant to give a number. We're at a distance now. This is not a steady stream of ambulances by any measure. This is not a chaotic scene.

But there will be people who experienced injury. I'm sure people could have been hit by things falling or scraped. We had glasses falling off the table. Certainly people in the restaurant appearing to have minor injuries at least. So a lot of people want to be checked out. We're not seeing a huge influx of people. But there was some who arrived early.

VANIER: Across town, can people sleep in their homes?

I have been speaking to people and getting different reactions. Some not sure if the homes are safe. Others were sleeping on a mattress and now want to sleep in a car tonight because who knows what will happen next.

FIELD: Yes, really, if you think about it, there's a lot of difficulty getting the information out for the people just affected by this latest quake this evening. The first thing this many did was run from your house with whatever you have. You run with nothing. It's whatever is on your body.

So there is confusion. People are out on the streets, trying to get neighbors out of their houses. I don't know that everyone knows exactly where they should go, if they should head to a shelter or a friend's house. We had difficulty with cell phone connectivity. We came here where people were set up at the hospital and emergency workers gathering.

But the difficulty especially with the time of day this happened, pitch black. Many people might not know where to go and people might just trust their gut in terms of where they are safest.

VANIER: It's almost 10:00 pm where you are. Alexandra Field, thanks. We'll speak to you again. And we'll do so shortly.

First, I want to show you new video from our other team, from Paul Vercammen. This was the scene when he shot it moments ago, talking about an hour ago. Paul was the one who took the picture of the house fire.

Remember, earlier Paul was explaining this is a common occurrence in earthquakes where gas lines are ruptured and find yourself with these house fires. This being one example, an hour ago in Ridgecrest, the epicenter of the earthquake.

I'll show you some of the other footage we're getting. This is a supermarket in California.

This was also felt in Las Vegas, 150 miles away roughly. A Summer League game was being played. And all of a sudden, the stadium started shaking. You see the people leaving their seats. The stadium started shaking. You saw the screen shaking and they had to stop the game.

We'll go to some of the game next. This is -- this is the game. They had to just interrupt the game. Now to the Dodgers game. There it is in Los Angeles. That game not

interrupted. CNN's Sara Sidner was there. The way she put it, people knew exactly what was happening when it happened. They noted the tremor and felt it.

But they just -- they're used to this. They sat mostly and went through the game.

All right, Sara Sidner is live with us.

You can comment on the moment for us. We saw the shaking there.

SIDNER: Yes. It was significant. We all felt it. But we need to be clear, the difference what we felt here in L.A., more than 150 miles away from the epicenter, and Las Vegas, a shorter distance, would be different. It would be stronger for example in Las Vegas.

Los Angeles has been through this. We went through the biggest feeling of an earthquake a 4.5 magnitude as a result of initially Thursday's 6.4. That was on Thursday. Today it felt stronger. I felt both of them. I was here Thursday when it happened, inside of the Dodger Stadium, watching a game with everybody else. That was there.

And we felt the stands move. I was up in the -- close to --

[12:50:00]

SIDNER: -- the nosebleed seats. And we could all feel it move. And people sort of look at each other and they say earthquake. And we confirm to each other that's what we're feeling.

It did go on for some time. We knew because it lasted quite a few seconds it was probably a big one. We didn't know it was going to be bigger than the quake that we thought was going to be the main quake on Thursday.

It turns out, USGS saying it is a now 7.1 magnitude. That is what they're calling it at this time. Sometimes these things get downgraded and upgraded. It was downgraded to a 6.9 and back up to a 7.1.

That is a significant earthquake, the epicenter people are certainly feeling shaken up. Las Vegas got quite a shock as well from this earthquake that turns out, the 6.4 was a foreshock. Now we should be clear that seismologists -- and one of the most well known around the world, Lucy Jones, made clear there was a 1:20 chance, the 6.4 could be a foreshock.

It turns out, it was. Looking at the magnitude now of a 7.1, we're talking about a major earthquake that has the potential to do quite a bit of damage, damage not only because of the shaking and not only because of how long the shaking goes on, because that can, of course, cause structural damage, injuries, knocking things off shelves, for example. But we're talking about the damage it can do to the pipes, whether it is water main breaks or the more dangerous version, gas line breaks. We are seeing those fires. The likelihood is, is that those are from gas lines that have ruptured and started fires.

That happened very significantly during two big earthquakes that this area and Northern California experienced, the Northridge earthquake was a 6.7. To put into perspective, Northridge was a 6.7, it showed the collapse of a freeway. There were many deaths in that particular earthquake because it was in a very populated area.

And you did see fires there. Also Loma Prieta in 1989, it happened in Northern California, the San Francisco Bay area. Everyone who's ever seen video of an earthquake, usually sees the picture of the Bay Bridge but there were significant fires along the marina, where gas lines were broken.

And one after the other, things were catching on fire. It was devastating.

There you see again, that is from the very moment, I was sitting there when it happened, when the earthquake occurred, while there are tens of thousands of fans inside Dodger Stadium.

The way that Angelinos dealt with this, it was certainly a lot smaller, the feeling of it here, than the 7.1, we're talking somewhere in the 4s. So people reacted to it basically by acknowledging it and then laughing about it.

And the Dodgers, by the way, just kept playing the game. These are events that people feel here, every now and then. But this is significant and I don't want to make light of what has just happened. A 7.1 is a large earthquake. Something we haven't seen in the past two decades in Southern California or Northern California, for that matter.

This is significant. It happened in an area that is in the Mojave Desert, a smaller community. But the regional hospital there in Ridgecrest has worried about worse effects, and with each one, whether it is an aftershock or foreshock, you could have more structural damage.

One of the things that authorities want to make very clear, if there's an emergency, call 9-1-1. If there isn't, if you're just wanting to know information about the earthquake or where to go, do not call the emergency line because those get all filled up and there are people who really do -- are experiencing an emergency, whether it is an injury or something going on in their neighborhood that needs immediate attention.

They're telling people, look, try to go check on your neighbors but a lot of folks feel more scared, for example, inside their homes, because you can tell an earthquake is happening when things are falling off the shelves, the walls, when your chandeliers are going back and forth. It's very unnerving. You have no control over your surroundings.

What people are told to do -- and this is important -- is to get under something that's sturdy. If you have a table in your home, if you have -- you go to your front room, go underneath the kitchen table if you have that available. If you have a coffee table, get underneath that. Find something --

[12:55:00]

SIDNER: -- so that you have something to cover your head because a lot of injuries come from things falling from above. They may be small but getting hit in the head with something and getting a cut, it tends to bleed quite a bit.

They've had more than 1,000 aftershocks since the initial event, the foreshock of 6.4. There are going to be aftershocks, not just today, tomorrow, the next day but as you heard the seismologists say, this can go on for weeks, months, even years.

Usually the aftershocks get smaller over time. You'll start noticing that they're impactful. That is if we're not in another event, where this is a 1:20 chance that this also is a foreshock. Let us hope it is not. Something bigger than that, we're talking about much more damage.

Each time it goes up, we're talking about more power and shaking, depending on how shallow the earthquake is. But for sure, you know, more than 150 miles away, that's the result of an earthquake there in Ridgecrest, that's Los Angeles, inside Dodger Stadium, where there are tens of thousands of people and they're still there at the game at this hour.

VANIER: I want to put out a few numbers out there to put this in context. You said there's a 1:20 chance this is going to be a bigger earthquake. The USGS were telling us, there's a 5 percent chance this could be followed by a larger earthquake. The timeframe on that, they say this could happen within a few days, typically 24 to 36 hours.

So we're on a watch to find out whether there's a bigger earthquake after this one. Also another number, the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that we saw today, a couple hours ago, is five times bigger than yesterday's earthquake but released more than 11 times the amount of energy than yesterday's earthquake.

Our meteorologists are helping me get the terminology on that. Sara Sidner, we'll come back to you. I want to go to our meteorologist right now.

What do we need to know at this hour?

KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Just as Sara quoted Dr. Jones, saying that the aftershocks are going to occur for years. We see this often around the world with the Ring of Fire, where there's a major earthquake or a great earthquake.

The earthquake or the foreshock that we saw yesterday, that was considered a strong earthquake. This 7.1 magnitude earthquake is considered a strong earthquake or major earthquake and it was very shallow.

That was the interesting thing in looking at the data on this. And right before this earthquake occurred, there was a 5.0 magnitude foreshock. It, too, was shallow. The deeper they are -- and we have seen these earthquakes in this region running around 5 miles to almost 10 miles deep -- but this was very shallow.

We have a report of someone who lives near the Los Angeles airport. He said he noticed that almost all the water in his swimming pool was out. So this was great shaking that took place and was felt all the way towards Los Angeles.

Let's zoom in across this region and you'll see the cluster of foreshocks across this region. But this is where the latest epicenter on this latest earthquake that occurred around roughly 8:30 local time, that was in Los Angeles.

But do you notice this, this is referred to as the Little Lake area. And indeed there are all kinds of intersecting fault lines but they refer to this cluster -- and Dr. Jones mentioned -- between this little lake right where this is perpendicular to the activity here, this is all called the Little Lake fault.

This is not associated with the San Andreas fault. That goes for hundreds and hundreds of miles. That's where we see the great majority of the tectonic plates. These are localized fault areas. And this is what we're seeing, one that intersects the other. But lately, some of those quakes have been occurring further to the north in the vicinity of the Naval Air Weapons Station.

And so you can better believe -- it's a huge facility -- that they are investigating everything that is going on in that facility. It is critical.

But these represent earthquakes, foreshocks that happened 24-36 hours ago. This represents that epicenter, which they re-evaluated it, 7.1 and it's very shallow. They felt this all the way down to Mexico. They have felt this in Las Vegas. You would feel a 7.1 magnitude and everyone is --

[01:00:00]