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Strong quake strikes off Northern California but causes no tsunami or major damage

  • COURTESY USGS
                                A 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck the Northern California coast today, bringing significant shaking but likely minimal damage to the sparsely populated area.

    COURTESY USGS

    A 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck the Northern California coast today, bringing significant shaking but likely minimal damage to the sparsely populated area.

PETROLIA, Calif. >>A 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck the Northern California coast today, bringing significant shaking but likely minimal damage to the sparsely populated area.

A tsunami was not expected to follow, the National Weather Service said.

The earthquake occurred just after noon and was centered off the coast about 210 miles northwest of San Francisco, just off a tiny town called Petrolia that’s home to fewer than 1,000 people. The nearest population center, Eureka, is about 45 miles northeast.

That left only about 25,000 people in the range of strong or very strong shaking, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, though residents as far away as Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area reported feeling trembling.

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s office of emergency services did not issue any evacuation orders, though a few roads were closed due to rock slides. The U.S. Geological Survey estimated economic losses of less than $10 million and no fatalities.

Photos showed shattered store windows, broken bottles fallen into store aisles and tiles that had fallen loose from a commercial building’s ceiling.

The area last suffered an earthquake of a similar magnitude in 1993, when one person died, according to the USGS.

Petrolia General Store manager Jane Dexter told the San Francisco Chronicle the rumbling and shaking lasted for about 20 seconds. Glass bottles fell off the shelves at the store, bursting on the floor, but no one was hurt, she said.

“It was bigger than (anything) I’ve felt in a long time out here,” she told the Chronicle.

California’s Office of Emergency Services said 2,500 people were notified about the earthquake before shaking began through the state’s early warning system called MyShake.

“It is important for all those in the region to remain vigilant … as sizable aftershocks will occur along the North Coast over the next few days,” OES Director Mark Ghilarducci said in a statement.

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