6.2 quake off the California coast prompts North State dam inspections

A quake measuring 6.2 in intensity was followed by numerous aftershocks along the California coast on Monday.
A quake measuring 6.2 in intensity was followed by numerous aftershocks along the California coast on Monday.

An earthquake that measured 6.2 in magnitude off the coast of California could be felt as far inland as Redding early Monday afternoon.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake happened at about 12:10 p.m. about 24 miles west of Petrolia in Humboldt County. Petrolia is about 50 miles south of Eureka.

The quake was one of a cluster of some 24 quakes that ranged from less than 3.0 in intensity to more than 6.0. The first quake hit shortly before 7 a.m. about 13 miles west of Petrolia and registered 4.0 in intensity, according to the USGS.

The most recent quake happened shortly before 2 p.m. about northeast of Petrolia and registered 3.8, the USGS said. See this database on earthquakes.

The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office said there were numerous smaller aftershocks recorded around Petrolia, Ferndale, Shelter Cove and Rio Dell.

"There is no threat of tsunami at this time," the Humboldt sheriff's office said.

No serious damage reported from quake

Some roads in Humboldt County had been closed due to damage from the quakes, the sheriff's office said, those included Redwood Drive between Evergreen Road and Bear Canyon Road due to a rockslide; and Mattole Road near Postmile 11 due to rockslide.

Kaitlin Graves, who works at the Petrolia General Store, said there didn't appear to be any serious damage from the quake. Other reports around town were similar, with no serious damage, she said.

Some items had fallen from store shelves, though.

"Yes, there are broken wine bottles and other products — one of them very stinky. It smells really funky in here now. Yeah, so my pantry at home is all messed up," Graves said.

She said she had just stepped outside the store when the earthquake hit.

"Well, you know, I was out back taking a break, smoking a joint, and that's when it hit for me. My coworker was inside the store and she went out and I just rode it out outside. That's my first outside earthquake and I've lived in Humboldt my whole life," Graves said.

She was a little shook up from the quake, so she ran over to the postmaster, which shares the same building, and gave her a hug, Graves said.

Redding rocks, North State dams inspected

While Petrolia was near the epicenter of numerous quakes Monday, there was some building shaking that occurred in Redding as a result of the largest quake that hit shortly after noon.

Don Bader, the area manager for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, initially said the effects of the quake were not felt strongly enough in the area north of Redding to trigger an inspection of Shasta Dam.

But due to ongoing aftershocks, the bureau added Shasta Dam to its inspection list, he said.

Bureau officials also planned to inspect three other dams in the area that are managed by the agency, he said. Those dams are Whiskeytown, Trinity and Buckhorn Dam, a small structure on Grass Valley Creek in Trinity County.

"It did not affect Shasta Dam to any point that we need to worry about it, but Trinity Dam and Whiskeytown Dam, we're going to go out and do field inspections because the (effects) are just on the threshold of us needing to go and do inspections, so we're going to go out of precaution," Bader said.

With "embankment dams you're always looking for some erosion out of the ordinary. We look at our facilities, our gate structures and everything else. We do these monthly inspections, but it's kind of like a repeat of that but out of concern of the earthquake, though, of course," Bader said.

Officials with the California Department of Transportation said there were no reports of damage to any of the state highways in Humboldt, Trinity or Shasta counties.

Josh Hoines, superintendent at Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, said he felt the earthquake hit.

"I felt it here in my office, but I haven't heard of any reports of damage," Hoines said.

Hoines said he had become accustomed to earthquakes when he was working in Southern California, but since he moved to the North State three years ago, quakes are less common here.

He said it took him a few seconds to realize he was feeling an earthquake.

"You know it had a little bit of a bump and some sway to a lamp here. The pieces of it were swaying back and forth and rattling," Hoines said.

Damon Arthur is part of a team of journalists who investigate wrongdoing and find the unheard voices to tell the stories of the North State. He welcomes story tips at 530-338-8834 and damon.arthur@redding.com. Help local journalism thrive by subscribing today!

This article originally appeared on Redding Record Searchlight: 6.2 quake off the California coast prompts North State dam inspections