California earthquake sets off rock slide near campground

Dust clouds roll down California mountainside during June 24 earthquake.

A moderately strong earthquake that rattled central California on Wednesday, June 24, triggered a rock slide that sent boulders and debris crashing into a camping area.

SONAR Critical Events: California earthquake, Wednesday, June 24, 2020

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) said the quake had a magnitude of 5.8 on the Richter Scale. The quake jolted the area around 10:40 a.m. Pacific Time, and was centered around 10 miles southeast of Lone Pine, California. Lone Pine is located between Sequoia National Park and Death Valley National Park.

The Inyo County Sheriff’s Office said on Facebook that the rock slide hit the Whitney Portal area, about 45 miles from the epicenter. Whitney Portal is the gateway to Mt. Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous United States, and the trailhead for the Mt. Whitney Trail.

Road blocked by rock slide after a 5.8-magnitude earthquake hit California on June 24. (Photo: Inyo County Sheriff’s Office)

Photos released by the Inyo County Sheriff’s office show large boulders that crashed into the area. Whitney Portal Road remains closed because of the debris and cracks in the road. Campgrounds were evacuated, and the Sheriff’s office said nobody was injured as a result of the rick slide.

Clouds of dust could be seen hanging in the air close to the parking lot and camping ground in a video posted to Twitter by John Chrissinger.

Chrissinger told Storyful he was standing in the picnic area at Whitney Portal when he heard a “low rumble” and then “a few pretty hard shakes to the right and left” that lasted about 10 seconds.

“There was a thunderous crash and you could see part of the mountain coming down. It was lucky that we were on the other side of the portal road,” Chrissinger told Storyful.

Dust on a vehicle after a 5.8-magnitude earthquake on June 24 triggered a rockslide at Whitney Portal, California. (Photo: Inyo County Sheriff’s Office)

“I did not have time to video the landslide,” Chrissinger added. ”It all happened so fast, [it] was over in 30 seconds. Funny it was just dead silence and all the dirt rising up after the slide. It felt really eerie.”

Another photo he took showed a large boulder that “took out several campsites and trees.”

Other videos also showed dust clouds on area mountains after the quake.

People from as far as away as Los Angeles and Las Vegas said they felt the quake. So far, only minor damage, and no injuries, have been reported near the epicenter.

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