Earthquake Causes Structural Damage

January 10, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
We spoke to one woman who used to live in Fresno. She now lives in Eureka and said Saturday's quake was the biggest one she's ever felt. And one family even managed to capture the quake on video. A YouTube video shows just how powerful Saturday's earthquake was.

You can see a girl in the clip dancing, when suddenly the room she's in starts shaking and pictures come flying off the walls.

The 6.5 magnitude quake started less than 25 miles off the coast of Ferndale near Eureka in Northern California.

It was strong enough to knock down furniture, smash windows, and create some structural damage.

One woman, who lives in Eureka, told Action News what happened when the earthquake hit. "Well, I was sitting in a movie theatre and um felt a huge jerk and I grabbed my partner by the hand, and said let's get out of here, and everybody stood up and then another big jolt hit and knocked some people down."

"As the pacific plate moves up, now it's getting jammed up against this. Yeah."

Dr. Keith Putirka teaches geology at Fresno State. He says Saturday's earthquake hit just north of the San Andreas Fault, in an area used to seismic activity.

Historically though, he says those earthquakes usually measure below a 5.0, which is why this one was felt by people living along the coast.

"Yeah, a 5.0 is big enough to do damage to most buildings and it might even be large enough for people in Eureka have experienced before because some of these earthquakes can be much further off shore where perhaps the impact wouldn't be as great."

Dr. Putirka says it's difficult to predict when the next "big one" will hit. So far there have been several aftershocks; something he says should be expected.

"We live in an area where two large plates slide past one another so these things are bound to happen."

According to PG&E, about 25,000 people lost power during the quake. And several people have reported gas and water leaks.

Right now, we haven't received reports of any injuries.


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