Northern Calif. Earthquake Damage Predicted to Be Less Than $10M

February 5, 2010

Damage and loss from yesterday’s magnitude 5.9 earthquake that struck offshore Northern California are expected to be less than $10 million, with insured losses a fraction of that, a risk modeling firm has reported. The moderate quake struck at 12:20 p.m. PST on Feb. 4, 2010, about 35 miles from Petolia and 50 miles from Eureka, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

This is the second earthquake in the area in less than a month. According to USGS, yesterday’s earthquake occurred at the southwest end of the rupture zone of the M6.5 earthquake that occurred on Jan. 9, 2010, and it was very likely triggered by changes in stress to the Mendocino fracture zone resulting from the Jan. 10 earthquake. Historically, the coastal and offshore areas of far northern California have been the single most seismically active region of the contiguous United States, Eqecat said.

“The maximum shaking intensity felt in this earthquake was light to moderate, and corresponding damage is expected to be minimal,” the company said. “In comparison, the earthquake of January 10 caused moderately strong shaking intensities and moderate damage to chimneys and parapets, as well as a limited number of cracked walls and foundations.”

The Oakland, Calif.-based risk modeling firm said yesterday’s quake is likely to be limited to elements that had been already damaged on January 10 but not yet repaired.

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Sources: Eqecat, USGS

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