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Los Angeles: A 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit Southern California on Thursday at 10:33 am (17:33 GMT) near the Searles Valley in San Bernardino County, the United States Geological Survey said.

The shallow quake struck at a depth of 5.4 miles (8.7 kilometers) in the vast desert region, lasting multiple seconds with residents as far away as Los Angeles saying they felt the tremor.

It is not yet clear if the earthquake caused major damage, but USGS seismologist Rob Graves said that "this earthquake is large enough that the shaking could have caused damage."

The San Bernardino County Fire Department reported no injuries on Twitter, but stated that "buildings and roads have sustained varying degrees of damage."

It added that there were multiple "buildings with minor cracks; broken water mains; power lines down; rock slides on certain roads. No injuries/fires."

"We will continue having a lot of aftershocks," CalTech seismologist Lucy Jones told a press conference, adding that dozens had already occurred and that some may be as strong as magnitude five.

Los Angeles International Airport said that runways were unharmed, with operations continuing as normal.

The city's police reported on Twitter that they had not "received any reports of damage or calls for service within the City of Los Angeles related to the #earthquake."

While California is the most-populous state in the US, the quake was located in a sparsely populated portion of the Mojave Desert.

Jones added that there is a small possibility that this quake was the prelude for a larger tremor.

"There is about a one-in-20 chance that this location will be having an even bigger earthquake within the next few days, that we have not yet seen the biggest earthquake of the sequence," she said.

Celebrities in Los Angeles were quick to react to the trembling.

"Been living in Los Angeles all my life," filmmaker Ava DuVernay wrote on Twitter. "That was the longest earthquake I've ever experienced. Not jerky. Smooth and rolling. But it was long."

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Press), 2019