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Sunday, January 10, 2010
North Coast quake California's most powerful in 6 years - San Jose Mercury News
"Saturday's 6.5 temblor off California's remote North Coast was the strongest to hit the state in six years, but it caused few injuries and little major damage aside from downed chimneys, broken windows and rattled nerves. But experts say it could have been far worse. Because the epicenter was located in solid rock about 25 miles offshore — and the rural region's population is scattered and resides primarily in wood-frame housing — damage was minimal for a quake of that size. The quake was also a powerful reminder that the area is the seismic capital of our state, yet its turbulence receives far less attention than quakes in the Bay Area and Los Angeles Basin. Every year at least 80 temblors with magnitudes over 3 are recorded off the Cape Mendocino coast, according to the University of California-Berkeley Seismology Laboratory. Humboldt County officials reported that more than two dozen residents sought emergency medical care, with only one serious injury — a broken hip. The picturesque city of Eureka, the hardest-hit community in the region, reported $12.5 million in structural damage, with 14 residents displaced. "On the whole, I think we dodged a bullet," said state Assemblyman Wesley Chesbro, D-Eureka. Most Californians are anxious about the San Andreas Fault, yet the so-called Cascadia subduction zone — which created Mount Lassen — is twice the length of the San Andreas and is believed capable Advertisement Quantcast of generating larger quakes than our notorious fault."