Southern California could see more magnitude 6 earthquakes 'in the next week,' as temblors become 'wake-up call'

After two major earthquakes within days in Southern California, seismologists are warning the area could see additional sizable temblors within the next week.

The 7.1 magnitude earthquake that struck at 8:19 p.m. Friday was the largest one in Southern California in nearly 20 years and was centered 11 miles from Ridgecrest, the same area of the desert where a 6.4-magnitude temblor hit on Thursday.

No fatalities or major injuries were reported, but the quake left behind cracked and burning buildings, broken roads, obstructed railroad tracks and leaking water and gas lines.

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In a news conference on Saturday, California Institute of Technology seismologist Egill Hauksson said that Ridgecrest was once known as the “earthquake capital of the world” because it had many small quakes along the fault.

Ron Mikulaco, right, and his nephew, Brad Fernandez, examine a crack caused by an earthquake on Highway 178, Saturday, July 6, 2019, outside of Ridgecrest, Calif.

Ron Mikulaco, right, and his nephew, Brad Fernandez, examine a crack caused by an earthquake on Highway 178, Saturday, July 6, 2019, outside of Ridgecrest, Calif. (​​​​​​​AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Hauksson added that scientists believe the probability of another magnitude 7 over the next week is about 3 percent as of Saturday, but one or two magnitude 6 quakes are expected "in the next week," FOX11 reported.

More than 3,000 earthquakes have been recorded in the Searles Valley sequence, according to Lucy Jones, another seismologist at Caltech.

The area could see up to 30,000 aftershocks over the next six months, though many of those will be too small for people to notice.

Jones, a former science adviser at the U.S. Geological Survey, said the new quake on Friday probably ruptured along about 25 miles of fault line and was part of a continuing sequence.

The seismic activity is unlikely to affect fault lines outside of the area, Jones said, noting that the gigantic San Andreas Fault is far away.

"The sequence is decaying, and the decay rate is on the high side of average. So the probabilities of more aftershocks are dropping," Jones said on Twitter. " In the next week, M4s are still certain, a couple of M5s are likely, but larger quakes are looking more improbable."

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The earthquake on Friday jolted an area from Sacramento to Mexico and prompted the evacuation of the Navy's largest single land holding, Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in the Mojave Desert.

An earthquake-damaged street is seen Saturday, July 6, 2019, in Trona, Calif.

An earthquake-damaged street is seen Saturday, July 6, 2019, in Trona, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom estimated that more than $100 million in economic damage, adding that governments must strengthen alert systems and building codes, and residents should make sure they know how to protect themselves during an earthquake.

"It is a wake-up call for the rest of the state and other parts of the nation, frankly," he said at a news conference.

Hauksson said that while the recent quakes have not been on the more famous fault lines across the state, residents still need to be wary of when the next "big one" could strike.

“We’re expecting large earthquakes on all the faults in Southern California,” he told reporters on Saturday. “In particular, (the Ridgecrest) area is quite active and has been since we’ve had good records, since the 1930s.”

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With the possibility of aftershocks and temperatures forecast to reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit over the next several days, officials were taking precautions.

The California National Guard was sending 200 troops, logistical support, and aircraft, Maj. Gen. David Baldwin said. The Pentagon had been notified, and the entire California Military Department was put on alert, he said. The California Office of Emergency Services also brought in cots, water, and meals and set up cooling centers in the region, Director Mark Ghilarducci said.

Crews in Southern California assessed damage to cracked and burned buildings, broken roads, leaking water and gas lines and other infrastructure Saturday after the largest earthquake the region has seen in nearly 20 years jolted an area from Sacramento to Las Vegas to Mexico.

Crews in Southern California assessed damage to cracked and burned buildings, broken roads, leaking water and gas lines and other infrastructure Saturday after the largest earthquake the region has seen in nearly 20 years jolted an area from Sacramento to Las Vegas to Mexico. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

In Ridgecrest, local fire and police officials said they were initially swamped by calls for medical and ambulance service. But police Chief Jed McLaughlin said there was "nothing but minor injuries such as cuts and bruises, by the grace of God."

In Trona, a town of about 2,000 people considered the gateway to Death Valley, fire officials said up to 50 structures were damaged. San Bernardino County Supervisor Robert Lovingood said FEMA delivered a tractor-trailer full of bottled water because of damage to water lines. Newsom declared a state of emergency for the county.

Fox News' Louis Casiano and The Associated Press contributed to this report.