The earthquake struck at around 12.10pm local time at a depth of 5.8 miles, and it was confirmed by the National Weather Service that a tsunami is not expected following the quake.
“No tsunami is the main message that we have been getting out,” Alex Dodd, a lead meteorologist at the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Agency based in Eureka, told Fox26 News. “The Pacific Tsunami warning center up in Palmer, Alaska, always keeps a close eye on these things, and they got the word out right away that this is a non-tsunami-generating earthquake, so there’s no concern to be had there.”
The shaking set off a few small landslides, and some households reported minor damage, mainly due to falling objects, he added.
“Fortunately that’s been about the extent of it,” Mr Dodd said.
But the quake isn’t quite over just yet.
“Numerous small aftershocks are being recorded,” said the Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services on Monday.
The earthquake was felt in coastal communities in the area like the town of Ferndale, where food wobbled off of the shelves in the Valley Grocery store.
“Valley Grocery moments after quake,” said local journalist Caroline Titus, posting a picture on Twitter of the damage. “Owner said ten volunteers showed up and helped cleanup. Store now back open.”
— Caroline Titus (@caroline95536) December 20, 2021
Geologists at the California Geological Survey in San Francisco, nearly 300 miles to the south, also reported feeling the earthquake.
A M6.2 #earthquake has occurred offshore northern California 24 miles west of Petrolia. Moderate to strong shaking was recorded by the seismic network along the coast. The earthquake was felt in San Francisco by this CGS geologist! We are continuing to monitor this region. (TD) pic.twitter.com/gusr50IKJB
— California Geological Survey (@CAGeoSurvey) December 20, 2021
Experts noted that the quake wasn’t particularly strong or unique to a region notable for its seismic activity.
“The offshore nor Cal earthquake today was in another zone with lots of quakes,” University of Washington professor Harold Tobin said on Monday on Twitter, sharing a map showing many similar events taking place off the shore over the last three decades. “At [magnitude] 6.2 it was big enough to shake folks up, but not very rare. Here’s a USGS map of all [magnitude] 4.5+ there since 1990 (orange dot is today’s). This is 5th largest in 32 years there.”
The offshore nor Cal earthquake today was in another zone with lots of quakes. At mag 6.2 it was big enough to shake folks up, but not very rare. Here's a USGS map of all mag 4.5+ there since 1990 (orange dot is today's). This is 5th largest in 32 years there. pic.twitter.com/T0233idcvR
— Harold Tobin (@Harold_Tobin) December 20, 2021
The US Geological Survey is asking those who felt the earthquake to voluntarily provide data about where and how they experienced it on the agency’s website.