Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Watch Live

Public Safety

Large Earthquake Strikes Off Northern California Coast

A 6.9 earthquake, followed by dozens of aftershocks, struck off the Northern California coast on Sunday, March 9, 2014 at 10:18 p.m.
A 6.9 earthquake, followed by dozens of aftershocks, struck off the Northern California coast on Sunday, March 9, 2014 at 10:18 p.m.

No Tsunami Warnings Issued

A strong magnitude-6.9 earthquake struck off the Northern California coast late Sunday night, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.


If Indoors

  • DROP to the ground; take COVER by getting under a sturdy table or other piece of furniture; and HOLD ON until the shaking stops.
  • Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or furniture.
  • Stay in bed if you are there when the earthquake strikes. Hold on and protect your head with a pillow, unless you are under a heavy light fixture that could fall. In that case, move to the nearest safe place.
  • Use a doorway for shelter only if it is in close proximity to you and if you know it is a strongly supported, loadbearing doorway.
  • Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to go outside. Research has shown that most injuries occur when people inside buildings attempt to move to a different location inside the building or try to leave.
  • Be aware that the electricity may go out or the sprinkler systems or fire alarms may turn on.
  • Do not use elevators.

If outdoors

  • Stay there.
  • Move away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires.
  • Once in the open, stay there until the shaking stops. Most earthquake-related casualties result from collapsing walls, flying glass, and falling objects

The quake struck 50 miles off shore from Eureka at 10:18 p.m. PDT at a depth of 4 miles, according to USGS.

More than a dozen aftershocks have followed, with the largest being a magnitude-4.6.


The temblor did not cause a tsunami, or trigger any tsunami warnings, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

There were no reports of injuries or damage to nearby populated regions, but hundreds of people reported feeling the quake on the USGS website.

Sunday’s quake was the largest on the West Coast since the 7.2 Easter earthquake on April 4, 2010, which shook 20 million people in Mexico, Southern California and other nearby states.

Researchers have warned for decades a large-scale California earthquake is long overdue, including on the San Andreas Fault, which starts east of San Diego County near the Salton Sea and runs to Northern California, forming the tectonic boundary between the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate. The movement of those plates is anticipated to cause a major 8.0-magnitude earthquake in Southern California.

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill last September to create a statewide earthquake early warning system to alert people seconds before a quake hits, but funding for the $80 million system is lacking. Currently, there are approximately 400 sensors throughout the state, but researchers say hundreds more are needed to complete the system.

KPBS has created a public safety coverage policy to guide decisions on what stories we prioritize, as well as whose narratives we need to include to tell complete stories that best serve our audiences. This policy was shaped through months of training with the Poynter Institute and feedback from the community. You can read the full policy here.