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Can animals predict earthquakes? Alexlky / ThinkStock
A road is cracked by an earthquake in this file photo. A pair of powerful temblors in Southern California cracked State Route 178 in three places, prompting state crews to begin repairs.

No reports yet of ag damage from quakes

A pair of powerful shakers rocked the area around Ridgecrest, Calif., last week.

Last week's earthquakes in the Ridgecrest area in Southern California have so far generated no reports of damage to barns, irrigation systems or other agricultural infrastructure, according to area officials.

Residents in the desert community about 150 miles north of Los Angeles have been cleaning up since a magnitude-6.4 temblor shook the region early July 4, and a 7.1 quake hit the same area on the evening of July 5. Dozens of smaller earthquakes have been felt over the weekend.

Ridgecrest, which is adjacent to the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in the Indian Wells Valley, is home to several small pistachio orchards and some sheep production, although it's unlikely the animals would be out grazing at this time of year, Kern County Agricultural Commissioner Glenn Fankhauser says. In any event, no reports of damage or impacts have come in, Fankhauser tells Western Farm Press.

Likewise, the Kern County Farm Bureau has heard no reports of damage, according to a spokeswoman.

The quakes caused fires and gas leaks, forced area hospitals to evacuate and prompted an emergency declaration from Gov. Gavin Newsom, activating the Office of Emergency Services' State Operations Center to provide assistance, according to the U.S. News and World Report. The agency estimates that the earthquake will cause economic losses anywhere from $10 to $100 million, the magazine reports.

The state Department of Transportation on Sunday began to repair cracks in three separate areas on State Route 178 about six miles east of Ridgecrest, according to the local newspaper, the Daily Independent. The earthquakes damaged buildings at nearby Cerro Coso Community College, which is closed for repairs, the newspaper reports.

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