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Damage Is Minor as 2 Quakes Jolt Coastline

From Staff and Wire Reports

Two strong earthquakes shook the Northern California coast Saturday afternoon, making a total of three temblors within two days in the area. Rockslides closed roads, power lines were downed and a house was knocked off its foundation.

There were no reports of injuries in either quake, although authorities received numerous calls from shaken residents.

The first quake Saturday, which had a magnitude 5.8, lasted a few seconds.

The second, measured at magnitude 6.9, struck in the Pacific 65 miles west of Crescent City at 3:17 p.m. in the same spot a 5.7-magnitude quake occurred Friday, said Willis Jacobs, a geophysicist with the National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colo. Jacobs said Friday’s quake could be considered a “foreshock.”

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The first Saturday quake, which was not related to the other two, was centered about 40 miles south of Eureka, Jacobs said. The center received reports that the temblor was felt in Sacramento, Redding and Chico, Jacobs said.

Most damage appeared to have been caused by the first quake, although the second was more than 10 times stronger.

Small rockslides blocked a rural paved road near Garberville, about 15 miles east of Shelter Cove, said Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputy Floyd Stokes.

“We had some minor difficulties reported, a few road closures and one (power) line down,” Stokes said. “I called my wife over in Shelter Cove to see if everything was OK, and she said the power was out and some glass items broke in the house.”

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A house was knocked off its foundation in the Honeydew area, about 15 miles north of Shelter Cove, where landslides also were reported.

Capt. Bill Christen, a state forestry firefighter in Fortuna, about 10 miles south of Eureka, said the first quake felt the strongest.

“We were rolling around in our chairs with wheels, trying to hang on in the first one,” he said.

Phone lines were dead in Petrolia, 30 miles south of Eureka, and the overhead doors of a Department of Forestry fire station in Honeydew jumped off their roller tracks, Christen said.

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The second quake hit the same general area where a 5.7-magnitude quake hit on Friday.

“This is the zone where we do have earthquakes. We’re not surprised to have events in this area,” said Jacobs.

The impact of the second quake Saturday was likely dampened by the miles of ocean it had to pass through before hitting the mainland.

The October, 1989, quake in Northern California that killed 67 people registered 7.1.

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