08:14 GMT +316 October 2019
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    This July 7, 2019 photo provided by the U.S. Navy shows damage to a store at the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake military base following series of earthquakes on July 4 and 5. The base sustained heavy damage that experts estimate will cost over $5 billion to repair. (Mass Communication Specialist John Scorza/U.S. Navy via AP)

    Repairs to California Naval Facility After Quakes Estimated at $5 Billion

    © AP Photo/ Mass Communication Specialist John Scorza/U.S. Navy
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    The earthquakes that struck California last month caused more than $5 billion worth of damage to Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, a large military installation located in China Lake, California, approximately three miles north of Ridgecrest, which was severely affected by the tremors.

    The 1,700-square-mile base “provides and maintains land, facilities and other assets that support the Navy’s research, development, acquisition, testing and evaluation (RDAT&E) of cutting-edge weapons systems for the warfighter,” according to its website.

    An evaluation of around 3,600 of the installation’s buildings over 13 days found that repairing or replacing the damaged structures, which include hangars, repair facilities, offices, a laboratory, 22 ammunition magazines, an air traffic control tower, a gym and a pool, would cost around $2.2 billion, according to the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southwest. The total repair and replacement plan, however, includes furniture, tools, communications and other equipment, hiking the cost up to $5.2 billion.

    However, the figures are speculative at this point, and any repair funds would first have to be approved by Congress and the president.

    The quakes caused cracks in the base’s buildings as well as damage to water pipes and electrical equipment. A laboratory used to test weapons technology was deemed unsafe, according to a report by the Navy Times. In fact, 20% of all buildings in the facility are currently unsafe or have restrictions on their use. Many of the facility’s buildings were built before 1980, with some even dating as far back as World War II, and thus did not meet modern earthquake safety standards.

    "There was damage to a majority of the buildings and infrastructure," Capt. Mark K. Edelson, commanding officer of Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southwest, is quoted as saying by the Navy Times.

    The 6.4-magnitude tremor that struck 122 miles northeast of Los Angeles on July 4 was followed one day later by a powerful 7.1-magnitude earthquake that caused a fissure within the Little Lake fault zone in Southern California’s Indian Wells Valley area. At least 159 aftershocks of magnitude 2.5 or greater were recorded after the first earthquake on July 4. However, despite the magnitude of both earthquakes, there were no reported deaths as a result. The quakes did, however, result in several gas leaks and fires in Southern California.

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    damage, Navy, earthquake, military, California
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