Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Series of Earthquakes Rocks Northern California This Latest Quake Is Not Related to the One Last Week in Southern California outside Palm Springs. Humboldt County Is a Veritable Tuning Fork, with Scores of Small Quakes Each Month

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Series of Earthquakes Rocks Northern California This Latest Quake Is Not Related to the One Last Week in Southern California outside Palm Springs. Humboldt County Is a Veritable Tuning Fork, with Scores of Small Quakes Each Month

Article excerpt

THE second big earthquake to jar California in less than a week has reminded residents of the perils of living in a fault-veined state, sent scientists puzzling over their seismographs, and underscored the importance of being prepared for a force that is both unpredictable and powerful.

Residents of rattled Humboldt County in northern California are cleaning up after a 6.9-magnitude quake that struck Saturday, one of the largest temblors to hit the state this century.

Two major aftershocks were reported early Sunday morning. The first measured between 6.0 and 6.3; the second, 6.5 on the Richter scale.

The quake was only slightly smaller than the 7.1 earthquake that rocked the San Francisco area in 1989.

A fire in a shopping district, gas leaks, and bridge damage were reported following the aftershocks, but no injuries. Highway 101 was closed in some sections due to damage. The logging town of Scotia, 25 miles south of Eureka, lost a market and hardware store.

Centered 35 miles south of Eureka, the quake caused widespread structural damage in the region's picturesque coastal hamlets, triggering rockslides and injuring 53 people, though few seriously. No one was killed.

Gov. Pete Wilson quickly declared Humboldt County a disaster area. The state set a preliminary damage figure of $3.5 million. Quakes not related

The quake struck only three days after a 6.1-magnitude shook southern California. That temblor also hit a predominantly rural area, in the desert just north of Palm Springs, causing only minor damage and injuries.

Although both quakes occurred near the notorious San Andreas Fault, scientists say the two events were not related. The northern California quake hit in one of the most seismically active areas in the state. The region is a veritable tuning fork - vibrating with scores of small temblors, usually less than 3 on the Richter scale, each month. Previous quakes

Last Aug. 17, a 6.1-magnitude temblor jolted the area. Less than three hours later, a 7.1 quake struck offshore. Only minor damage resulted from both. A 7.0 temblor was recorded in the area in 1980.

The latest shaker hit just onshore somewhere within a cluster of faults at the "Mendocino escarpment," a geological formation near Cape Mendocino. …

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