A magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck northern California early Tuesday, waking residents, damaging infrastructure and cutting power to thousands of homes and businesses.
At least two people were injured in the quake, which damaged buildings and roads around Humboldt County, about 250 miles north of San Francisco, officials said.
The US Geological Survey said the quake occurred at 2:34 a.m. in the waters of the Pacific Ocean about 7.5 miles west of Ferndale at a depth of 16 miles. The city is near the California and Oregon state line, about 19 miles south of Eureka.
usgs warning “Many” aftershocks occurred in the wake of the earthquake, some of which could reach magnitude 4. More than two dozen aftershocks were recorded on the USGS website, most of which were less than magnitude 4.
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The National Weather Service’s Tsunami Warning System reported that there was no tsunami threat from the earthquake, which was the most powerful earthquake seen in the region in years.
“Check gas and water lines for damage or leaks. Use caution when traveling,” Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services tweeted after 6:30 a.m. PT.
Roads, homes damaged around Humboldt County, California
Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office announced Damage to homes and roads was reported throughout the county, which has a population of approximately 136,000 people.
Two injuries were confirmed, sheriff’s information specialist Samantha Karges told USA TODAY. Karges said several other injuries had been reported but was awaiting confirmation.
Officials also reported at least two structure collapses in which crews rescued people. Details about those incidents were not immediately available.
Karges said the victims who were confirmed to be injured were expected to recover.
Besides Ferndale, most of the destruction occurred in Rio Dell, Fortuna, and Scotia in the Eel River Valley.
Around 9 a.m. PT, Pacific Gas & Electric Company reported thousands of customers without power in the area. In Humboldt County alone, where Ferndale is located, more than 71,000 people were in the dark.
The City of Eureka has set up a “charging center” at the Eureka Municipal Auditorium where residents affected by the power outage can charge their devices Tuesday.
The city also announced that its water supply was safe and had not been affected by the earthquake. But some gas leaks were also reported throughout the county.
PG&E spokeswoman Myra Tostado told USA TODAY that the utility company has initiated its emergency response plan and that workers were responding to gas and electrical hazards in Humboldt County following the earthquake and aftershocks.
“Our assessment could take several days,” Tostado said. “All customers are urged to use extreme caution around heavily damaged buildings.”
At 11 a.m. PT, a news conference was scheduled for Governor Gavin Newsom office tweeted.
‘I’ve never felt anything like this in my life’
Diana McIntosh, 69, said the quake woke her up inside her home in an apartment complex in central Humboldt County.
McIntosh, who was alone in her apartment off the freeway near the Pacific Ocean, said: “It felt like the north and south were rocking back and forth and it was getting bigger and bigger. I heard banging, things crashing and glass shattering.” Went.”
McIntosh, who said she has lived in the Eureka area for 65 years, called it the biggest earthquake she has ever experienced.
“I was crying,” she said. “The way it shook… I’ve never felt like this in my life.”
McIntosh said his home, where some furniture was not attached to walls, was damaged.
“My water is brown. There’s no power. It’s 60 degrees in my apartment and dropping,” she said.
A photo posted online by the California Department of Transportation shows State Route 211, which connects Ferndale to US 101, undamaged by the quake. The Ferndale Fire Department reported that other roads in the area were also closed due to damage, including Blue Slide Road, which runs parallel to US 101, a major north-to-south highway that extends from Los Angeles into Washington state.
Another area resident, Carolyn Titus of Ferndale, posted on Twitter, “North/South tremor very evident in what fell. It was our coffee station. Sorry for the dark video. Power is still out.”
Strongest earthquake in recent memory
Tuesday’s 6.4-magnitude earthquake could be California’s most significant since July 2019, when a 7.1-magnitude quake struck Southern California, according to the state’s Department of Conservation. In 2016 a magnitude 6.5 earthquake was recorded about 100 miles near Ferndale.
In northern California, the last notable earthquake was a magnitude 6.2 earthquake that occurred offshore in the Cape Mendocino region in December 2021.
Tuesday’s quake came just days after a magnitude 3.6 earthquake struck the San Francisco Bay Area, which woke thousands of people and caused minor damage at 3:39 a.m. Saturday.
That Templar was centered in El Cerrito, about 16 miles from downtown San Francisco.
It also comes after a magnitude 5.1 earthquake struck the San Francisco Bay Area in late October. No one was injured in that incident. The earthquake occurred on the Calaveras Fault, one of eight major faults in the Bay Area and a branch of the San Andreas Fault Line.
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What was the largest earthquake in US history?
The largest earthquake in modern history occurred on March 27, 1964, when a magnitude 9.2 earthquake struck the Prince William Sound region of Alaska.
According to the USGS, the earthquake’s rupture began about 15.5 miles below the surface, with its epicenter about 6 miles east of the mouth of College Fiord and 75 miles east of Anchorage.
It is also the second largest earthquake ever recorded after the 9.5 magnitude earthquake in Chile in 1960.
Contribution: Associated Press