LONE PINE (CBS SF) — A 5.8 magnitude earthquake rattled Inyo County near the eastern Sierra Nevada town of Lone Pine Wednesday, sending tons of boulders and debris crashing down at the Whitney Portal camping area.
The Into County Sheriff’s Department posted on Facebook that they have closed the popular camping spot.
“The campgrounds are being evacuated due to rockslide south of the main parking lot,” the post read. “No injuries were reported at this time… It is believed that this slide was triggered by the recent 5.8 earthquake near the Lone Pine area.”
However, they said it was “unclear at this time if the main Mt Whitney trail has been affected.” Deputies did post that Horseshoe Meadows Road was closed due to rocks and debris.
“I was in that parking lot when it happened,” Christine Defendi posted on Facebook along with a photo of the large dust cloud kicked up by the slide.
The Whitney Portal is the gateway to Mt. Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous United States and is the trailhead for the Mt. Whitney Trail.
Deslizamientos de Tierra en las Montañas de Lone Pine, tras Terremoto de M6.1 en California, #US. (24.06.2020). #Earthquake #Nevada #Owens #Alico #Keeler #MT #Whitney #Sismo #Temblor #Landslide #zabedrosky
By: Steven Wheeler ✓. pic.twitter.com/YdtWiOdjVF
— ⚠David de Zabedrosky🌎 (@deZabedrosky) June 24, 2020
The initial quake struck at 10:40 a.m. in a rural area of the Owens Valley Fault System, which is known to occasionally produce big quakes. The epicenter of the quake was near the town of Lone Pine and about 45 miles east of Mt. Whitney.
It has been followed by more than a dozen aftershocks ranging in magnitude from 4.6 to 2.5. On Monday night, the same area was struck by a 4.6-magnitude temblor.
Good morning! Check out the #ShakeAlert report for a M5.8 quake about 10 miles from Lonepine, CA. Alerts were delivered to wireless devices by @fema WEA and Apps. Did you get one? Please send us a pic! @Cal_OES https://t.co/Jol9nCuOqe pic.twitter.com/bFIjbXL51E
— USGS ShakeAlert (@USGS_ShakeAlert) June 24, 2020
There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries elsewhere. The quake was felt as far away as Bakersfield, Stockton and throughout the Central Valley.
Plotted (approximate) epicenter of today's M5.8 earthquake near Lone Pine on this map of the slip distributions for the 1872 Owens Valley surface rupture from Haddon et al. (2016). Mechanism for today's quake also has significant strike-slip component. pic.twitter.com/NjTtCkOwd3
— Jascha Polet (@CPPGeophysics) June 24, 2020
The area is located between Sequoia National Park and Death Valley National Park, about 170 miles north of Los Angeles.