6.5 Earthquake Strikes Off California Coast
FRESNO, Calif — A 6.5 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Northern California Saturday afternoon, shaking buildings south of the Oregon border and knocking out power in several coastal communities.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake hit at about 4:27 p.m. about 27 miles from Eureka, a city of about 26,000.
The state’s warning center hasn’t received any reports of injuries or major damage, California Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Lori Newquist said.
The earthquake knocked out the power in Arcata, a small town that’s home to Humboldt State University, and one resident said many people had objects knocked off walls and televisions tumble.
“It was huge – one of the biggest earthquakes we’ve had up here in 20 years,” said Judd Starks, 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.”
Sandra Hall, owner of Antiques and Goodies in Eureka, said furniture fell over, nearly all her lamps broke and the handful of customers in her store got a big scare. She said it was the most dramatic quake in the 30 years the store has been open.
“It was shaking for a very long time,” Hall said.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said there was no threat of the quake generating a tsunami. In November 2006, an 8.3-magnitude temblor in Japan sent waves that hit the region for eight hours, causing $9 million damage.
The quake was felt as far south as Capitola in central California, and as far north as Roseburg in central Oregon, USGS geophysicist Richard Buckmaster said.
Dan Bowermaster of San Francisco was with relatives in Eureka when the quake hit. He said he had been in several moderate and large quakes throughout California but had never felt anything as big or dramatic as this one.
“It just spiraled bigger and bigger,” Bowermaster said by phone. “It was extremely unsettling, it was shaking in kind of a circular way.”
Bowermaster said the refrigerator in his cousins’ home moved 3 or 4 feet, and glassware fell of the shelves and broke. He drove across town shortly after the quake and saw many store windows destroyed.
Five aftershocks followed in the 90 minutes after the quake, the biggest registering at a magnitude of 3.8. The San Francisco Bay area was struck by two light earthquakes on Thursday and Friday.
Hall said there was hardly any glassware left in her antiques store.
“We’ll be having a sale on broken china for those who like to do mosaics.”
Dalton reported from Los Angeles. Associated Press Writer Bob Christie contributed from Phoenix.
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