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California military base still closed following big quakes

Posted at 2:10 PM, Jul 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-09 17:10:36-04

A sprawling military base in the Southern California desert remains closed to non-essential personnel as damage assessments continue following last week’s powerful earthquakes.

Spokeswoman Margo Allen said Tuesday that teams have so far surveyed just 10% of the 1,200 facilities at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake. It’s unclear when personnel and their families will be able to return.

Two strong quakes – a 6.4 and a 7.1 – struck Thursday and Friday near Ridgecrest, just outside the 1.2-million-acre base in the Mojave Desert.

Water and gas services have been restored, but engineers are making sure buildings are safe to enter. Allen says the shaking cracked walls in a chapel and school and brought down commissary shelves.

She says one person suffered a minor foot injury.

Some personnel were evacuated to the naval base in Ventura County.

A USGS mobile laser scanning truck scans the surface rupture near the zone of maximum surface displacement of the M7.1 Searles Valley earthquake. (Photo credit Ben Brooks, USGS)