A house burns in Ridgecrest, near the quake's epicentre

A house burns in Ridgecrest, near the quake's epicentre
A 7.1-magnitude earthquake has hit California less than two days after another strong tremor, rattling parts of LA and causing fire and building damage near its rural epicentre.

It hit at 8.19pm local time 11 miles from Ridgecrest in the Mojave Desert, the site of Thursday's 6.4-magnitude quake.

Offices in downtown Los Angeles shook for around 30 seconds and it was also felt in the Hollywood Hills, Las Vegas and parts of Mexico.

The earthquake is the strongest to hit the region in 20 years, with experts giving it an early rating of 6.9 to 7.1 on the Richter scale.

There are "significant reports of structure fires, mostly as a result of gas leaks or gas line breaks" in Ridgecrest, said Mark Ghillarducci, head of the California Office of Emergency Services.

He said the full extent of the damage would not be revealed until daybreak on Saturday.

There have been minor injuries, but no deaths reported so far.

Lucy Jones, a seismologist with the California Institute of Technology, said the quake was part of the sequence that produced the earlier quake, saying Thursday's quake was a "foreshock".

Celebrities reacted to the tremor on social media, with actor Stephen Fry tweeting: "Whoa! Was that aftershock just now or a whole new quake? 8:20pm #Earthquake."

"Certainly felt it here in the Hollywood Hills," added Fry.

Rapper Nicki Minaj posted "That earthquake was intense", while Big Bang theory star Kaley Cuoco posted a video of her chandelier shaking and called the quake "freaky".

Reality TV star and make-up entrepreneur tweeted "Those earthquakes" next to two anguished-looking emojis.

Amy Lee from Middlesbrough, who is on holiday in the area, told Sky News: "We're in Torrance at an Airbnb cottage and the entire room felt like it started rocking! It was like the room was swaying, the ceiling light started shaking and flickering."

Torrance is around 160 miles from the reported epicentre.

Hundreds of aftershocks have jolted the area since Thursday's initial earthquake and experts say they could continue for three years.