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7.1 magnitude earthquake jolts Southern California

CALIFORNIA: A 7.1-magnitude earthquake rattled Southern California which is the largest earthquake of the state in two decades.

Officials said the tremor shook buildings and cut power supplies in parts of Los Angeles but did not cause major damage or deaths.

The shallow quake struck near the small city of Ridgecrest on Friday at 8:19pm (3:19 GMT on Saturday), US seismologists said, and following a 6.4-magnitude quake that hit the same area the day before.

The latest quake was 11 times stronger than the previous day’s “foreshock”, according to the US Geological Survey, and is part of what seismologists are calling an “earthquake sequence”.

The tremor was felt more than 240km away in Los Angeles, where the fire department deployed vehicles and helicopters to check on damage and residents in need of emergency aid.

The earthquake was the largest in southern California since 1999 when a 7.1-magnitude quake struck the Twentynine Palms Marine Corps base, according to The Los Angeles Times.

“We have word of wires down… and localised power outages in several City of Los Angeles neighborhoods… besides a handful of apparently small issues, NO major damage to infrastructure has been identified,” the Los Angeles Fire Department tweeted.

The department later released a statement saying that its ground and air survey had found “no major infrastructure damage”.