California "Dodges Bullet"

6.9 magnitude quake strikes off coast

An apartment building damaged by the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Last night's quake off the Northern California coast was just as strong. (Getty Images/Fuse)

Northern California "dodged a bullet," in the words of one law enforcement official, after a 6.9 earthquake struck off the Eureka coast at 10:18 p.m. PST on March 9.

"This easily could have been a catastrophe," Humboldt County Sheriff's Lt. Steve Knight told the Eureka Times-Standard.

The nondeadly quake was the largest to shake the West Coast since a 7.2 tremor rocked Southern California in 2010. It was felt as far south as San Francisco and as far north as southern Oregon.

By 7 a.m. PST Monday, the U.S. Geological Survey had recorded 21 aftershocks, with magnitudes reaching as high as 4.6.

The strong quake—which had similar power to the famous 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake—occurred 50 miles off the coast, but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration did not issue a tsunami warning.

Residents said the quake had a relatively gentle rocking effect, despite dislodging books from shelves.

For the time being, the West Coast appears to be safe—but beware: The next "megaquake" could very possibly shake San Francisco or Los Angeles.

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