Depth, distance reduce impact of California quake

EUREKA, Calif. — One of the largest earthquakes to hit California in decades rattled the state’s northern coast, but its depth and distance from shore reduced the impact on land, where there were no reports of injuries or damage, scientists and authorities said on Monday.

The magnitude-6.9 quake struck at 10:18 p.m. PDT Sunday and was centered 50 miles west of Eureka and about 10 miles beneath the Pacific seabed, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. By late Monday morning, it had already produced 20 aftershocks of magnitude-3.5 or larger, and more were expected over the coming days, said Keith Knudsen, deputy director of the USGS’s Earthquake Science Center in Menlo Park, Calif.

Knudsen said there was also a 5 to 10 percent chance of a larger quake in the area in the next week.

Sunday’s quake was felt widely across the region, but both fire and sheriff’s officials in Humboldt County said they had no reports of any damage or injuries. Humboldt County includes most of the populated areas closest to the epicenter.

“Everybody felt it region-wide to the point that there was concern for damage,” said Humboldt County Sheriff’s Lt. Steve Knight. But other than triggering some home alarms, the county escaped unharmed, he said. “We’re very grateful.”

There was no tsunami danger for the region as well, according to the National Tsunami Warning Center.

More than 3,000 people reported on the USGS website that they felt the quake within hours of it striking, including some across the border in Oregon.

“It was a big bump and then it rolled for about 30 seconds,” said Diana Harralson, 64, who lives in an apartment in Rio Dell, about 55 miles southeast of the earthquake’s epicenter. “It was a real good shaker.”

Harralson said some knickknacks fell off the wall, but there was no damage. A California native who has experienced other earthquakes, she said she and her cat slept comfortably through the night.

Amandip Heer, a manager at a 76 Gas Station and convenience store in Eureka, described the quake as a “vibration,” but said nothing fell off the shelves at the store, and there was no other damage.

Earthquakes are very common in Eureka, a city of about 27,000 people about 270 miles northwest of San Francisco and 100 miles south of the Oregon state line. Nearby Arcata is home to about 17,000 people and Humboldt State University.

Since 1980, there have been 10 earthquakes greater than magnitude-6 in the area, Knudsen said. California has experienced at least seven earthquakes of magnitude-6.9 over the same period, according to the USGS.

Sunday’s quake was far enough from shore to allow much of its energy to dissipate, Knudsen said.

“We’re fortunate it didn’t strike closer to a populated area,” he said.

An offshore earthquake of magnitude-7.2 about 30 miles southwest of Eureka in 1992 left 95 people injured and caused tens of millions of dollars in damage, according to the USGS. The earthquake was felt as far south as San Francisco.

It was followed by a magnitude-6.5 earthquake about 12 hours later and a magnitude-6.7 earthquake a few hours after that, both of which caused additional damage.

More in Local News

Within an hour, 2 planes crash-land at Paine Field

One simply landed hard and went off the end of a runway. Another crash involved unextended landing gear.

Mill Creek’s Donna Michelson ready to retire at year’s end

The city’s longest-serving council member says she has every intention of staying involved.

Leanne Smiciklas, the friendly lady who served customers of her husband’s Old School Barbeque from a schoolbus parked in front of the Reptile Zoo east of Monroe, has died at 64. (Dan Bates / Herald file)
Without her, beloved BBQ hotspot in Monroe can’t go on

Leanne Smiciklas, who ran the now-closed Old School BBQ along Highway 2 with her husband, died.

Foundation awards grants to Arlington schools

The Arlington Education Foundation on Nov. 13 presented a check to the… Continue reading

Snohomish County firefighters head to California for 18 days

They’re from Fire District 26 in Gold Bar, Getchell Fire and Fire District 7.

State commission reprimands Snohomish County judge for DUI

Judge Marybeth Dingledy had pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a day in jail.

Driver arrested after car strikes pedestrian in Everett

The pedestrian was crossing the road near 12th Street and Broadway. He was injured.

Active Casino Road volunteer honored for work

Molina Healthcare recently honored Jorge Galindo, from Everett, as one of its… Continue reading

Over $12K raised to InspireHER

InspireHER, a local organization that encourages female empowerment, raised over $12,000 at… Continue reading

Most Read