Eastern Sierra Earthquake Sent Massive Boulders Crashing Onto Mount Whitney Hiking Trails

More than a dozen aftershocks continued to ramble through the eastern Sierra near Mount Whitney, forcing rangers to delay searching for possible victims and assessing the damage done to several popular hiking trails by a 5.8 earthquake that rocked the region.

The initial quake struck in a rural area of the Owens Valley Fault System, which is known to occasionally produce big quakes, near the town of Lone Pine — about 45 miles east of Mount Whitney.

While it caused little damage to structures in the rural region, the quake did rock the Whitney Portal campground area. It has been followed by more than two dozen aftershocks over the last 24 hours ranging in magnitude from 4.6 to 2.5.

The aftershocks delayed efforts to search for possible victims. Rangers said no one has been reported missing but the area is extremely popular with hikers. There were 40 vehicles in the parking area near the Whitney Portal campgrounds at the time of the quake.

“After an evaluation by a U.S. Forest Service geologist this morning, the intention is to send in search and rescue teams and canines to check each of the debris fields,” according to a release by the Inyo County Sheriff’s Department.

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