Magnitude 6.5 quake strikes off Northern California coast


SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.5 was reported off the coast of a sparsely populated area of Northern California on Thursday but there were no reports of damage in the nearest town, officials said.

The quake was centred in the Pacific Ocean about 102 miles (165 kilometres) west of Ferndale, California, at a depth of 6.2 miles (10 km), the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The coastal area nearest the quake is sparsely populated.

There was no tsunami warning, advisory or threat in effect following the earthquake, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center of the National Weather Service said on its website.

In Ferndale, which has a population of about 1,300 people, Mayor Don Hindley said in a phone interview that he had not heard of any damage from the quake. He said he felt the temblor for about 15 seconds.

“It wasn’t that bad at all,” Hindley said. He added that he felt more shaking from another quake earlier this week.

The area near Ferndale had a 4.3 magnitude earthquake right on the coastline on Monday, according to the USGS.

The earthquake on Thursday was the largest off the U.S. West Cost since 2014, said USGS seismologist Annemarie Baltay.

A magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck off the Solomon Islands on Friday in that region’s time zone which is several hours ahead of the continental United States, but there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.

While the two large quakes occurred within a short amount of time, they were not related, Baltay said.

The Humboldt Bay Fire department in Eureka, California, had received no calls related to the quake off the state’s coast, said Ashleigh Jordan, administrative assistant at the department.

The quake was also felt at least as far away as the San Francisco Bay area, about 250 miles (400 km) south of Ferndale.

“Felt 20 seconds of very light shaking,” tweeted San Francisco resident Lila LaHodd.

The quake was first reported with a 6.9 magnitude but downgraded by the USGS to 6.5.

(Reporting by Jane Lee, Dan Levine and Peter Henderson in San Francisco, Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles and Melissa Fares and Gina Cherelus in New York; Editing by Bill Trott, Frances Kerry and Bernard Orr)

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