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A 6.9 earthquake shook California yesterday, striking just off of the northern coast near Eureka, followed by at least a dozen aftershocks with a magnitude as high as 4.6. The earthquake struck about 50 miles off the coast, though aftershocks were much closer, with one only 16 miles off the coast. Early reports from people living in Humboldt County, where the earthquake hit land the hardest, suggests that the earthquake caused no injuries or significant building damage.
The earthquake hit at 10:18 pm Sunday night at a depth of about 4 miles. No tsunami warnings were issued and the USGS classified the shaking on land as light to moderate. Many people living in the area reported a gentle rocking that lasted a while, but no violent shaking. The area is seismically active, and a similar quake, this one a 6.5, hit the area in 2010 and caused windows to break, chimneys to fall and power lines to snap apart.
Even by California standards, the quake is considered a large one. Lieutenant Steve Knight with the Humboldt County Sheriff said that the area really “dodged a bullet” this time. “This easily could have been a catastrophe that could have caused a lot of damage,” he told the Times-Standard. The quake is the largest to hit the region since the one that hit the Baja California area in 2010. That quake was a 7.2-magnitude.
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