Magnitude 6.9 quake hits off California coast
(2ND UPDATE) The USGS said there was a 90% probability of an aftershock of magnitude 5 or more and up to 300 small aftershocks over the next 7 days

CALIFORNIA EARTHQUAKE. The magnitude 6.9 earthquake happened some 77 kilometers west-northwest of Ferndale, California. Screen shot from USGS website

MANILA, Philippines (2ND UPDATE) – The US Geological Survey (USGS) reported Monday, March 10, that a magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck off the coast of California. 

A USGS notice said the quake was approximately 77 kilometers (47 miles) west-northwest of Ferndale, California, or 398 kilometers (246 miles) northwest of Sacramento. It stuck at 5:18 am GMT (1:18 pm, Philippine time) with a depth of 7 kilometers.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage, but early reports indicate the quake was felt as far away as San Francisco, around 400 kilometers south of Ferndale.

According to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC), a “destructive Pacific-wide Tsunami is not expected.”

The USGS said there is a 90% probability of a “strong and possibly damaging aftershock” of magnitude 5 or more in the next 7 days, and a 5-10% chance of a quake equal to or great than Sunday’s temblor.

Up to 300 small aftershocks can be expected over the next week, it added. A series of mostly 3-3.5 magnitude shocks, and one of 4.6, were recorded in the hour after the main quake, according to the USGS.

California has long braced for the Big One. It is on the so-called Ring of Fire, which circles the Pacific and has produced a number of devastating quakes including Japan’s March 2011 quake-tsunami, which killed thousands of people.

Geologists say a quake capable of causing widespread destruction is 99% certain of hitting California in the next 30 years. A magnitude 7.8 quake could kill 1,800 people, injure 50,000 more and damage 300,000 buildings.

A 6.7-magnitude earthquake in Los Angeles left at least 60 people dead and did an estimated $10 billion in damage in 1994, while a 6.9 quake in San Francisco in 1989 claimed the lives of 67 people. – with reports from Agence France-Presse/

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