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Humboldt County Shaken by Second Earthquake in Two Weeks

An earthquake rocked Humboldt County on Sunday, shaking California’s famous Emerald Triangle cannabis cultivation region for the second time in two weeks. The earthquake on New Year’s Day, which measured 5.4 on the Richter scale, followed a stronger quake that shook the area on December 20, leading to the death of two people. Sunday’s quake was one of more than 300 aftershocks that have rocked the region since.

“It’s typical to have an aftershock that is about one magnitude unit less than the main shock,” Lori Dengler, a former geology professor and an expert on earthquakes and tsunamis, told local media after Sunday’s temblor. “So this is very typical of most aftershock sequences.”

“Today’s earthquake (was) clearly on a different but related fault,” Dengler added.

Sunday’s quake occurred at 10:35 a.m. local time and was centered about nine miles east of the Rio Dell area of Humboldt County, according to information from the U.S. Geological Survey. California Route 211 in this area was closed temporarily to permit inspectors to examine a bridge that crosses the Eel River. There have been no injuries or deaths. 

An Earthquake Causes Power Outage

Rio Dell, the region that was hit the most by the earthquake 12 days prior to the earthquake caused the power outage. According to media reports, Pacific Gas and Electric said that between 500 and 55,000 customers were affected by the outage.

Gage Dupper, who was forced from his home by the earthquake of December 2008, said that he had been left homeless. He told reporters he has been living as a “nomad” since then.

“Today was another pretty big one,” said Dupper. “Still feels like we are shaking to me. We just can’t catch a break it seems.”

Gage noted that he was working in Fortuna, adjacent to Rio Dell, when Sunday’s quake shook the area again.

“But even just here it felt like the ceiling was going to come down,” Dupper said. “We nearly lost our power here as well. While I was speaking to residents of an assisted living home, I could clearly see panic. It was a simple matter of paying her rent. It certainly tossed us around a bit.”

Sunday’s Quake Follows 6.4 Shaker Last Month

On December 20, the Humboldt County earthquake caused severe damage. It measured at 6.4 on Richter’s scale. That quake injured 17 people and was blamed for the deaths of two residents, a 73-year-old and an 83-year-old, who died as “a result of medical emergencies occurring during and/or just following the earthquake,” according to a statement from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office’s Department of Emergency Services.

Rio Dell was also affected by the December earthquake, which caused a major power cut and water main rupture, leading to the loss of water service. In a press conference held in Sacramento, Mark Ghilarducci, Emergency Services Director, stated that the earthquake caused damage in Ferndale and Rio Dell. Rio Dell suffered the most severe damage, as at least 15 of the 3,000 homes were declared unsafe to live in. Officials reported that 18 additional homes suffered moderate damage after an initial assessment. 

Rio Dell’s water system was shut down while leaks in the vital infrastructure were repaired. Residents in the area were able to access portable toilets and drinking water from the local firehouse. Cassondra Stoner, a local resident said she felt shaken by last month’s earthquake in the morning.

“It felt like my roof was coming down,” Stoner said. “The only thing I could think about was, ‘Get the freaking kids.’”