Residents of the small desert town of Ridgecrest suffered the worst of the largest quake to hit the Golden State in over two decades, sending residents into a panic on Friday less than two days after a 6.4 earthquake shook the same area.
It wasn’t long before local residents saw that the topography of the region had also been altered in a big way.
In striking satellite photos released to CNN by Planet Labs, Inc., a wide crack can be seen near the epicenter of the large tremor, which was centered about 11 miles northeast of Ridgecrest in the Searles Valley.
Ridgecrest Earthquake before (4th July) & after (6th July) images from Doves, clearly showing surface rupture. Thx @rsimmon @PlanetLabs @USGS RT @USGSBigQuakes Prelim M7.1 Earthquake 35.767, -117.605 Jul-06 03:19 UTC, updates https://t.co/waWvmvQZ88 pic.twitter.com/cUNxdMazum
— Will Marshall (@Will4Planet) July 7, 2019
The fissure extends from what had previously been a body of water at some point, with erosion patterns revealing that the water was sucked out of the area.
Last Thursday and Friday’s twin quakes sent seismic waves rippling through the earth that were felt as far as Los Angeles and San Jose. Thankfully, no lives were lost due to the sparsely populated region of the California desert where the ruptured faults were located.
The fault line of the Searles Valley quakes is not connected to the infamous San Andreas Fault system which sprawls 800 miles from north to south along the coastline at the meeting point of the North American and Pacific plates.
The satellite image is one of many that show how the region was permanently changed by the huge quake, which sparked fires, cracked buildings and pipes, destroyed roads and caused a number of minor injuries.
A nearby highway was also shut down following tremors that moved sections of the road significantly.
Ridgecrest has a reputation for its intense levels of seismic activity, and was once known as the earthquake capital of the world due to the frequency of small earthquakes.
Since the 6.4-magnitude temblor on July 4th — which is now believed to have been a foreshock — California seismologists have recorded more than 3,000 earthquakes.