EUREKA, Calif. – One of the largest earthquakes to hit California in decades rattled the state’s northern coast, but its depth and distance from shore reduced the impact on land, where there were no reports of injuries or damage, scientists and authorities said Monday.
The magnitude-6.8 quake struck at 10:18 p.m. Sunday and was centered 50 miles west of Eureka and about 10 miles beneath the Pacific seabed, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It was initially reported as a magnitude-6.9 but later downgraded.
By late Monday morning, it had already produced 20 aftershocks of magnitude-3.5 or larger, and more were expected over the coming days, said Keith Knudsen, deputy director of the USGS’s Earthquake Science Center in Menlo Park, Calif.
Knudsen said there was also a 5 to 10 percent chance of a larger quake in the area in the next week.
Sunday’s quake was felt widely across the region, but both fire and sheriff’s officials in Humboldt County said they had no reports of any damage or injuries. Humboldt County includes most of the populated areas closest to the epicenter.
“Everybody felt it region-wide to the point that there was concern for damage,” said Humboldt County sheriff’s Lt. Steve Knight. But other than triggering some home alarms, the county escaped unharmed, he said. “We’re very grateful.”
There was no tsunami danger for the region as well, according to the National Tsunami Warning Center.
More than 3,000 people reported on the USGS website that they felt the quake within hours of it striking, including some across the border in Oregon.
“It was a big bump and then it rolled for about 30 seconds,” said Diana Harralson, 64, who lives in an apartment in Rio Dell, about 55 miles southeast of the earthquake’s epicenter. “It was a real good shaker.”