‘That Earthquake Was Insane’: Massive 6.4 Earthquake Hits Northern California

A whopping 6.4-magnitude earthquake hit northern California at roughly 2:30 Tuesday morning, leaving over 70,000 people without power. By 4 a.m. two dozen aftershocks had been reported, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

The earthquake’s epicenter was estimated to lie 200 miles north of San Francisco, 7.5 miles southwest of Ferndale. According to PowerOutage, 72,000 people lost power due to the quake.

“That earthquake was insane… a good 15-20 seconds of shaking,” one resident of Humboldt County tweeted. A Eureka resident added, “Once the shaking finally stopped, we got our flashlights and phones and looked around. Everything was in shambles. Things you wouldn’t expect to have fallen over or broken did. An entire cabinet in the bathroom fell over and broke apart.”

“According to our forecast, there is a 14% chance of one or more aftershocks that are larger than magnitude 5, which can be damaging, within the next week,” the USGS reported, adding, “There is a more than 99% chance of magnitude 3 and above aftershocks within the next week, and it is most likely that 6 to 27 of these will occur.”

Exactly one year ago, a 6.2-magnitude hit Cape Mendocino in Humboldt County. The California Geological Survey tweeted, “A M6.2 #earthquake has occurred offshore northern California 24 miles west of Petrolia. Moderate to strong shaking was recorded by the seismic network along the coast. The earthquake was felt in San Francisco by this CGS geologist!”

A M6.2 #earthquake has occurred offshore northern California 24 miles west of Petrolia. Moderate to strong shaking was recorded by the seismic network along the coast. The earthquake was felt in San Francisco by this CGS geologist! We are continuing to monitor this region. (TD) pic.twitter.com/gusr50IKJB

— California Geological Survey (@CAGeoSurvey) December 20, 2021

Over the weekend, a magnitude 3.6 earthquake struck along the Hayward fault in northern California, the fault that the U.S. Geological Survey has stated has a good chance of a major earthquake in the next 30 years.

“NO TSUNAMI IS EXPECTED,” Humboldt County’s Office of Emergency Services tweeted. “Magnitude 6.4 earthquake 14 miles from Fortuna. Power is out across the county.”

NO TSUNAMI IS EXPECTED. Magnitude 6.4 earthquake 14 miles from Fortuna. Power is out across the county. DO NOT CALL 911 UNLESS YOU ARE EXPERIENCING AN IMMEDIATE EMERGENCY.

— Humboldt Co OES (@HumCoOES) December 20, 2022

“Due to a large earthquake, widespread damages to roads and homes are reported throughout Humboldt County,” Humboldt’s OES added. “Be prepared for aftershocks. Check gas and water lines for damages or leaks.”

This is a Humboldt Alert. Due to a large earthquake, widespread damages to roads and homes are reported throughout Humboldt County. Be prepared for aftershocks. Check gas and water lines for damages or leaks. Exercise caution if traveling.
To report a gas https://t.co/bqkpuxqNJX

— Humboldt Co OES (@HumCoOES) December 20, 2022

A 2015 report from the US Geological Survey warned, “As the inventory of California faults has grown over the years, it has become increasingly apparent that we are not dealing with a few well-separate faults, but with a vast interconnected fault system. In fact, it has become difficult to identify where some faults end and others begin, implying many more opportunities for multifault ruptures.”

Seismologist Ned Field, the lead author of the report, stated, “The message to the average citizen hasn’t changed. You live in earthquake country, and you should live every day like it’s the day a Big One could hit.”

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