6.5 Quake Hits Off Northern California Coast

By Lori Preuitt
|  Saturday, Jan 9, 2010  |  Updated 8:04 PM PDT
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Nov. 13, 2008: SoCal Stages Earthquake

Ferndale Enterprise

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A magnitude 6.5 earthquake hit off the Eureka coast of Northern California Saturday afternoon.

USGS says the quake hit at 4:27 p.m.  It was centered 26 miles west of Eureka in the Pacific Ocean.

"It was huge -- one of the biggest earthquakes we've had up here in 20 years," Judd Starks told the Associated Press.  Starks is the kitchen manager at a bar and restaurant known as The Alibi. "The whole town is kind of freaked out right now. All the power is out, people are out walking around," Starks said.

A spokesman at the Ferndale Fire Department said damage was confined to broken windows and damage inside homes - from objects like dishes falling off shelves. One grocery store in Ferndale had quite a clean up job on all aisles.

Wide spread power outages affected about 25,000 customers in Humboldt County.

 "People have chimneys down, and we're hearing about minor property damage and lots of glassware broken," Jo Wattle said.  She is with the Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services.  "People are really shaken up. It was shaking pretty good, then it had a big jolt to it at the end."Wattle said. "People are really shaken up. It was shaking pretty good, then it had a big jolt to it at the end."

Eureka's Bayshore Mall closed following the quake after several light fixtures fell and floor tiles popped up off the ground.  There were reports that part of the ceiling fell onto customers.  The most serious injuries were a few scrapes and minor cuts.

A firefighter said the quake was strong.  He described it as a "good, hard shake," but said there was little damage considering its strength.

One man in Eureka described the quake as a rolling motion.  He said he thought his television was going to tip over and went over to try to hold it up.  In the end, he said only a few trinkets fell over.  He also had a small crack in his ceiling.

The Tsunami Warning Center said there was not a threat of a Tsunami.

This is the third earthquake in Northern California since Thursday.  The other two were smaller than 5.0 and both hit in the South Bay near Milpitas.  Hearing the news that another earthquake has hit the Golden State certainly serves as a reminder that we live in earthquake country.

 In the hours after Saturday's earthquake there were several aftershocks of 3.0 or greater.

USGS geophysicist Richard Buckmaster said the quake was felt as far south as Capitola in central California, and as far north as Tiller in central Oregon.

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