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M 6.4 Earthquake Jolts Ferndale, CA leading to loss of power for Tens of thousand residents

Photo from USGS

On December 20, 2022, 10:34:24 UTC, and 2: 34 local time, a magnitude 6.4 earthquake hit approximately 14.6 km (9.1 miles) southwest of Ferndale, in the Humboldt county, CA near the coast of northern California in the vicinity of the Mendocino triple junction. This is the region where the Pacific, North America, and Juan de Fuca/Gorda tectonic plates meet. According to USGS, this rupture occurred due to the strike-slip faulting on a steeply dipping fault striking either southeast or southwest. The location, depth, and faulting mechanism indicate that this event likely occurred within the subduction Gorda Plate.

As a result of this earthquake, tens of thousands have to go without power today. Roads and buildings were damaged. The 1320-foot-long Fernbridge that crossed the Eel river has been damaged by the earthquake. The Fernbridge is temporarily closed.

More than 80 aftershocks were reported on Tuesday morning and have left 2 people dead, and 11 people were injured. Last year, on December 20, 2021, a magnitude 6.2 earthquake occurred in the region.

Be prepared, officials said, now and always. The quake was yet another reminder of earthquake-prone California and the damage that can be done without any warning.

“Damage assessments are currently underway, with significant structural damages, including gas and water lines, observed in the Rio Dell community and moderate damages to properties throughout the Eel River Valley,” according to the Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services, in a statement. Details were not immediately available.

In the past century, there have been at least 40 other earthquakes of M6 or larger, including six earthquakes M7 or larger, within 250 km of the December 20, 2022 earthquake. These prior earthquakes primarily occurred along the Mendocino transform fault, in the Cascadia subduction zone, or within the Juan de Fuca/Gorda plate.

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