A quake occurred at 8.19 PM local time near the town of Ridgecrest, at a depth of 0.9 kilometers, reports the BBC. It registered 7.1 on the Richter scale. The same region was struck on Thursday by an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.4. That quake is now called the 'foreshock'.

Meanwhile, it is still unclear how severe the damage is in Ridgecrest, a desert town with around 30,000 inhabitants. According to local authorities, many reports have already been received. Several houses were set on fire by blown gas pipes. No deaths occurred, but several people were slightly injured.

The fire brigade reports that houses have shifted and that cracks can be seen everywhere. At the present moment, more than two thousand people in Ridgecrest and the surrounding area are without power, as reported by the Los Angeles Times.

State of emergency

The fire brigade of county San Bernardino reports that the damage is considerably higher than after the Thursday quake. Gavin Newsom, the governor of California, has declared a state of emergency in the county.

The shock was felt as far as Los Angeles, but the city's fire department says no major damage has been reported in that metropolis. This morning the power went out in a number of places.

On Thursday, the same region was hit by an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.4.

In Ridgecrest, about twenty people were injured and several houses burned down. According to the US Geological Bureau USGS, small aftershocks with forces between 2 and 3 have taken place since Thursday's quake. In total, more than 1,400 new quakes were registered. USGS, therefore, states that the Thursday quake is a precursor to that of today.

CNN reports that this last earthquake was eleven times stronger than the previous one.

Seismologists, from the California Institute of Technology, said on Thursday that; there is about one chance in 20 that the place was to undergo an even more powerful earthquake in the coming days. Today, they've added that there is again a five to 10 percent chance that today's quake will be followed by an even tougher one, possibly within 24 hours.

Shortly after this new heavy quake, at least several aftershocks with a force of 4 to 4.7 have already been felt. Over the past 24 hours alone, there have been more than 200 quakes with a magnitude of 2.5 and more in the area of ​​Ridgecrest.

What do the numbers in an earthquake mean?

During an earthquake, the energy that is released is displayed according to the 'Richter scale', the figure is called the magnitude. The number represents the vibrations that are recorded on a seismograph.

The Richter scale is a logarithmic scale. An increase in one magnitude unit means in practice an energy that is released about 30 times higher. With magnitude 7 the energy released is therefore 900 times (30x30) larger than magnitude 5, with magnitude 8 it is already 27,000 times larger. San Francisco was destroyed in 1906 by an earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 7.9. More than 3,000 people died, especially in the fires that destroyed 80 percent of all buildings in the city.