LOS ANGELES -- Officials say two Southern California desert communities struck by last week's powerful earthquakes may have sustained as little damage as they did because they have no tall buildings, and many of the homes are fairly new and built to strict earthquake standards.
California's Seismic Safety Commission Chairman Michael Gardner said during Thursday's commission meeting the tallest building he knows of in the Mojave Desert towns of Ridgecrest and Trona is the 3-story hospital in Ridgecrest.
Commissioner Kit Miyamoto noted many homes in Ridgecrest were built in the 1980s and '90s, adding "newer California houses hold up really well."
Preliminary estimates put damage to Ridgecrest and Trona at more than $100 million.
Commissioners are still awaiting further damage reports, particularly from the China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station.