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Powerful quake hits Southern California, causing damage and injuries

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FILE PHOTO: Linemen repair lines that were broken during a powerful earthquake that struck Southern California, July 4, 2019.
FILE PHOTO: Linemen repair lines that were broken during a powerful earthquake that struck Southern California, July 4, 2019. -
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FILE PHOTO: REUTERS/David McNew
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A magnitude 7.1 earthquake shook Southern California on Friday, triggering fires, buckling part of a highway, damaging buildings but causing few reported injuries despite striking with eight times more force than the initial quake in the same area a day earlier.

The quake hit the town of Ridgecrest on the edge of Death Valley National Park 202 km (125 miles) northeast of Los Angeles. It was also measured at 7.1 by the European-Mediterranean Seismological Agency.

The San Bernadino County Fire Department reported that the quake had caused some damage to buildings.

"Homes shifted, foundation cracks, retaining walls down," the department said on Twitter. "One injury (minor) with firefighters treating patient. No unmet needs currently."

A swarm of strong aftershocks have jolted the high desert region since a 6.4 quake on Thursday. Only a few injuries were reported in Thursday's quake but two houses caught fire from broken gas pipes, officials said.

The Los Angeles commuter rail service Metrolink said on Twitter it has stopped service in the city of 4 million people for the time being.

Pools in Los Angeles sloshed wildly and TV cameras at baseball's Dodger Stadium were shaking as they filmed the night game with the San Diego Padres.

Thursday's quake during America's Independence Day celebrations was the largest in Southern California since the 1994 magnitude 6.6 Northridge earthquake, USGS geophysicist Paul Caruso said.

That quake, which was centred in a heavily populated area of Los Angeles, killed 57 people and caused billions of dollars of damage.