Official says Northern California “Dodged a Bullet”; 6.9 Quake “Could Have Caused a Lot of Damage”

A map shows the approximate location of the epicenter of the 6.9 quake off the California coast near Eureka. (U.S. Geological Survey / March 10, 2014)
A map shows the approximate location of the epicenter of the 6.9 quake off the California coast near Eureka. (U.S. Geological Survey / March 10, 2014)

After a magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck off the coast of Northern California, Humboldt County Sheriff’s Lt. Steve Knight said Monday the region “dodged a bullet.”

“We had some alarms go off and other than that we dodged a bullet,” Knight said. “This easily could have been a catastrophe that could have caused a lot of damage,” he told the Times-Standard.

The earthquake is the largest to hit the West Coast since the magnitude 7.2 Baja California quake in 2010.

FULL COVERAGE: California earthquake safety

The temblor, which struck less than 55 miles from McKinleyville, Fortuna, Eureka and Ferndale, was followed by at least 13 aftershocks as large as magnitude 4.6, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Sgt. Brian Stephens of the Eureka Police Department said as of about 6:15 a.m. Monday that “we have not had one report of damage anywhere in the city.”

“Definitely a change from the last one we had,” Stephens said, referring to the magnitude 6.5 earthquake that rocked Eureka in January 2010. “This one was the exact same magnitude almost … This was a roller and the other was more or less a violent shaking.”

Stephens said it was his understanding the quake Sunday night, which hit at 10:18 p.m., lasted as long as 38 seconds.

“It was definitely a long one,” he said.

Stephens was out on a call when the quake struck and said his “car was rocking back and forth.”

“I thought someone was shoving my car back and forth, looked around and nobody was there. Then I realized what was happening.”

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SOURCE: Ari Bloomekatz
The Los Angeles Times

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