A magnitude 6.2 earthquake hit Northern California on Monday, bringing significant shaking but likely minimal damage to the sparsely populated area.
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 north.
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 rockslides. The U.S. Geological Survey estimated economic losses of less than $10 million and no fatalities.
The area last suffered an earthquake of a similar magnitude in 1993, when one person died, according to the USGS.
As of Monday evening, no injuries have been reported but some rural roads have experienced rock slides as a result of the earthquake, according to the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office.
“We are seeing varying damages, most occurring in the Eel River Valley and South county areas. We have received some reports of structural damages to buildings, broken glass and items thrown from shelves at local businesses. Damage assessments are still underway,” says Samantha Karges, public information specialist of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office.
The quake was “very scary,” according to Ranjeet Singh, owner of the Valley Grocery in Ferndale, a town within the radius of the earthquake.
Singh’s grocery store stored many items with glass bottles, which then shattered on the floor and caused potentially thousands of dollars in damage, Singh told USA TODAY.
However, none of the customers in the store were injured, and Singh has not heard of anyone in the town so far who has experienced major injuries.
Singh also said people within the town gathered in Main Street to assess the damage, and members from the local community stepped in to help clean up his store after the earthquake.
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.
According to Michigan Tech, earthquakes with magnitudes from 6.1 to 6.9 “may cause a lot of damage in very populated areas,” and there are approximately 100 of them per year.x
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“Moderate to strong shaking was recorded by the seismic network along the coast. The earthquake was felt in San Francisco by this CGS geologist!” said California Geological Survey in a Twitter post.
Little water was displaced, meaning the earthquake did not trigger a tsunami warning, according to seismologist Dr. Lucy Jones. This statement was later corroborated in an email from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office sent to USA TODAY.
Follow Michelle Shen on Twitter @michelle_shen10.
Contributing: The Associated Press, Wendy Killeen
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