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Aftershocks in California Continue After 2 Major Earthquakes

Fragments of a headstone are seen after it tumbled over onto a grave in the aftermath of an earthquake at Searles Valley Cemetery, in Trona, California, July 7, 2019.

Two remote California desert communities assessed damage after two major earthquakes hit the area at the end of last week, followed by thousands of smaller aftershocks.

Ridgecrest and neighboring Trona were hit hard by the magnitude 7.1 quake that rocked the Mojave Desert towns Friday. A day earlier, a magnitude 6.4 temblor hit the same patch of the desert.

The area, about 240 kilometers northeast of Los Angeles, is in recovery mode after the quakes crumbled buildings, ignited fires and cut power to thousands of homes and businesses.

The U.S. Geological Survey said Sunday there was just a 1% chance of another magnitude 7 or higher earthquake in the next week, and a rising possibility of no magnitude 6 quakes.

California Governor Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency for the area and warned local governments to strengthen alert systems and building codes. "It is a wake-up call for the rest of the state and other parts of the nation," Newsom told reporters.

The damage wasn't worse largely because of how remote the area is, but Newsom cautioned after touring Ridgecrest that "it's deceiving, earthquake damage. You don't notice it at first.''

The Democratic governor estimated the damage at more than $100 million and said U.S. President Donald Trump called him to offer federal support for rebuilding.