LOS ANGELES — Northern California was shaken Thursday by a strong earthquake, but there were no immediate reports of casualties or major damage from the towns nearest its epicenter.
The quake was measured at 6.0 on the Moment Magnitude scale and was only seven miles (11 kilometers) deep, according to experts from the US Geological Survey.
It was centered off the western Pacific coast some 35 miles from the town of Petrolia, in Humboldt County, but was strong enough to be felt some 275 miles away in San Francisco, residents said.
"We don't have any reports of injuries or damages yet," said Jordan Scott, a spokesman for the California emergency management agency. "We are still gathering information as it is a pretty recent occurrence."
There were also no reports of injuries in Ferndale, a town some 36 miles from the epicenter that suffered some damage on January 9 when a 6.5-magnitude quake hit.
"So far nothing has been reported here. I went around, and looked down main street at some of our buildings that were affected in the last one, and I haven't seen any additional damage yet," said city manager Jay Parrish.
"I was surprised it was a 6.0, I thought it was more like 3.5. It didn't seem that strong to me. Almost everybody felt it though."
It was the same story in Eureka, a nearby town of some 26,000 people that was also affected on January 9.
"We have no reports of damage yet. We didn't feel it as strong as the last one," police spokesman Murl Harphan said. "I was sitting at my desk here and it gave us a pretty good jolt."
The quake occurred in an area known to seismologists as the Mendocino Triple Junction where three tectonic plates meet and cause frequent seismic events.
Geologists say an earthquake capable of causing widespread destruction is 99 percent certain of hitting California within the next 30 years.
Studies have said that a 7.8 magnitude quake could kill 1,800 people, injure 50,000 more and damage 300,000 buildings.
A 6.7 earthquake in Los Angeles in 1994 left at least 60 people dead and did an estimated 10 billion dollars damage, while a 6.9 quake in San Francisco in 1989 claimed the lives of 67 people.