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Magnitude 6.2 Earthquake Strikes Off Humboldt County Coast, Damage Reported

HUMBOLDT COUNTY (CBS SF) – A strong earthquake struck off the Humboldt County coast Monday afternoon, causing minor damage in some communities and triggering the ShakeAlert system.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the magnitude 6.2 earthquake struck at 12:10 p.m. Officials said the epicenter is located in the Pacific Ocean, about 44 miles southwest of Eureka and about 25 miles west of Petrolia, the closest community to the epicenter.

The earthquake prompted the activation of the ShakeAlert system to phones along the Redwood Coast.

Humboldt Earthquake
Map of magnitude 6.2 earthquake off the Humboldt County coast on December 20, 2021. (USGS)

Visitors to the USGS website from across Northern California reported feeling the earthquake, including some in the Bay Area, along with residents in Lake and Mendocino counties.

Officials said there should be no tsunami resulting from this earthquake.

Damage reported from the earthquake has been minor. In the town of Ferndale, about 20 miles south of Eureka, some store windows were shattered and items were knocked off shelves.

Humboldt Earthquake Damage
A shattered window at Abraxas Shoes and Leather in Ferndale after a magnitude 6.2 earthquake struck off the Humboldt County coast, December 20, 2021. (Abraxas Shoes and Leather)
Humboldt Earthquake Damage
Damage inside the Valley Grocery in Ferndale following an earthquake that struck off the Humboldt County coast on December 20, 2021. (Valley Grocery)

The Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services urged residents and businesses to report damage on the county website.

According to USGS scientist Sarah Minson, such damage is to be expected in a strong earthquake. "Here in California where you have strong building codes, something built up to code really should not suffer serious structural damage in an earthquake," Minson told KPIX 5.

Minson said there have been 65 aftershocks of magnitude 2.5 or greater in the three hours since the earthquake, which should decrease in the coming hours. "But the number of aftershocks decreases exponentially with time, so every moment that we talk about the aftershocks, the number of ones you would expect go down," she said.

There are no immediate reports of injuries.


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