Earthquake: Magnitude 5.4 quake hits Northern California days after deadly temblor


A magnitude 5.4 earthquake hit Humboldt County on New Year’s Day, rattling an area that was hit hard by a deadly temblor just before Christmas.

The epicenter of the Sunday morning earthquake was about nine miles from Rio Dell and 26 miles from Eureka. Residents in the area reported strong shaking starting at 10:35 a.m., according to preliminary information from the U.S. Geological Survey.

More aftershocks are expected over the next few days, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The temblor came 12 days after a magnitude 6.4 quake killed two people, left a dozen injured, and caused widespread damage in Rio Dell, a lumber town about 25 miles south of Eureka.

Dozens of buildings were red-tagged in the Dec. 20 earthquake, leaving families homeless just before Christmas. Residents were under a boil-water order until last Wednesday.

Officials were still assessing damage from the Sunday quake. Caltrans said that Fernbridge, a historic poured concrete span that carries U.S. Route 211 across the Eel River, was temporarily closed for a seismic safety inspection.

An estimated 1,074 households in Rio Dell were without power at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, according to preliminary information from PG&E.

An average of five earthquakes with magnitudes between 5.0 and 6.0 occur per year in California and Nevada, according to a recent three-year data sample.

The earthquake occurred at a depth of 17.3 miles. Did you feel this earthquake? Consider reporting what you felt to the USGS.

Find out what to do before, and during, an earthquake near you by signing up for our Unshaken newsletter, which breaks down emergency preparedness into bite-sized steps over six weeks. Learn more about earthquake kits, which apps you need, Lucy Jones’ most important advice and more at

An earlier version of this article was automatically generated by Quakebot, a computer application that monitors the latest earthquakes detected by the USGS. A Times editor reviewed the post before it was published. If you’re interested in learning more about the system, visit our list of frequently asked questions.

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