Southern California was rocked by a magnitude 6.4 earthquake that jolted the Mojave Desert and was widely felt around the region as many prepared to celebrate Independence Day on Thursday.

The epicenter of a magnitude 6.4 earthquake that struck east-northeast of Ridgecrest on July 4, 2019, is shown in a USGS map.

The epicenter of a magnitude 6.4 earthquake that struck east-northeast of Ridgecrest on July 4, 2019, is shown in a USGS map.

The preliminary 6.6 temblor hit about 10:33 a.m. and centered in Searles Valley, about 11 miles east northeast of Ridgecrest, about 109 miles north of San Bernardino and 121 miles northeast of Los Angeles, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

It was proceeded by magnitude 4.2 temblor that shook the area about 30 minutes before the large quake, seismologist Lucy Jones tweeted, calling the earlier tremor a foreshock.

A short time after the 6.4 earthquake, aftershocks measuring 4.7, 4.2, 3.8 and 3.5 hit the same area, USGS reported.

The epicenter is within the sprawling Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division at China Lake, where a desert test range is located.

The quake was not on the major San Andreas fault but on strikeslip fault in “an area with a lot of little faults but no long fault,” famed seismologist Lucy Jones said on Twitter.

The area had a lot of quakes larger than magnitude 5.0 in the 1980s, she added.

“The chance of having a magnitude 5 [in the area] … is probably greater than 50-50,” Jones said, stressing it was just an off-the-top guess. “Some time this afternoon, we’re going to be having a larger aftershock within this sequence.”

Thursday’s shaking, which registered in the Los Angeles area as a long, rolling motion, and lasted for at least 20 seconds. It was felt in areas as far as Sacramento, Reno, Las Vegas and Tijuana, according to USGS’s website.

No injuries were immediately reported, but the San Bernardino County Fire Department tweeted that buildings and roads have been damaged in Trona, a remote community located about 10 miles northeast of Ridgecrest.

In other northwest areas of the county, some building were found to have minor cracks, according to the Fire Department. There were also broken water mains, downed power lines and rock slides on some roads due to the incident.

The extent of the damages were not immediately known.

In Ridgecrest, the Kern County Fire Department was responding to nearly two dozen incidents, everything from structure fires to medical assistance, officials said. Search and rescue teams were headed to the area.

No damage was immediately reported in Los Angeles, though the city’s Fire Department went on earthquake mode in the wake of the temblor.

Thursday’s earthquake was the largest to hit Southern California in nearly 20 years, when a magnitude 7.1 quake struck the Hector Mine area, nearly 50 miles east-southeast of Barstow, in October 1999, according to Jones.

And it was the second largest in the region since the catastrophic 6.6 Northridge quake devastated the region in 1994, killing dozens of people and causing billions of dollars in damages.

Check back for updates on this developing story. 

KTLA’s Melissa Pamer contributed to this story. 

Correction: A previous version of the story identified the Northridge quake as the largest earthquake in the past 25 years. This post has been updated. 

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