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California earthquake December 2022

The December 20, 2022 earthquake near Ferndale, California was a catastrophic event that shattered the lives of many residents in the rural parts of the state. The magnitude 6.4 quake occurred at 2:34 am local time, just offshore at a depth of 11 miles. It unleashed widespread destruction to roads and homes, power outages, and injuries. Two individuals died as a result of medical emergencies during or just after the earthquake. Here are some stories of real people who were affected by the earthquake:

  • Kent Porter, a photographer for The Press Democrat, lives in Rio Dell, about 15 miles east of Ferndale. He was sleeping when the earthquake hit. "It was like a freight train coming through the house," he said. "It was very loud and very violent." He said he grabbed his camera and went outside, where he saw cracks in the pavement and debris on the streets. He drove to Ferndale, where he saw more damage to buildings and bridges. He took photos and videos of the scene and posted them on social media.
  • Ruth Schneider, a reporter for The Times-Standard, lives in Loleta, about 10 miles south of Ferndale. She was working on her laptop when the earthquake hit. "It felt like someone picked up my house and shook it," she said. "I heard things falling and breaking." She grabbed her phone and ran outside, where she saw other people doing the same. She noticed that the Humboldt Creamery building, a historic landmark in Loleta, had suffered significant damage. The brick facade had collapsed and exposed the interior of the building. She took photos and videos of the scene and posted them on social media.
  • Mark Ghilarducci, the director of Cal OES, was in Sacramento when he received a call from his staff about the earthquake. He immediately activated the state‚Äôs emergency operations center and coordinated with local officials and agencies to assess the situation and provide assistance. He said that damage was mostly focused on the small communities of Rio Dell, Ferndale and Fortuna, where some structures and lifelines were affected2. He also said that two hospitals lost power and were running on generators. He praised the resilience of the residents and the response of the first responders. "This is another example of the fact that earthquakes can occur at any time without notice," he said.

These are just some of the stories of how the earthquake impacted people in different ways. The earthquake also reminded us of the importance of being prepared for such events, as they are common in this area due to its proximity to the Mendocino Triple Junction, where three tectonic plates meet. In fact, a similar sequence of earthquakes occurred nearby almost exactly a year ago on December 20, 2021.

The earthquake also caused huge financial losses for California, which is projected to lose an average of $9.6 billion a year from earthquake damage. Such losses can affect not only individuals and businesses but also governments and insurers who have to pay for recovery and reconstruction.

At Earling, we have been using our innovative technology to detect the risk of earthquakes a few days in advance and provide early warnings to our clients and partners. We informed the Southern California Earthquake Forecasting and Predictability Focus Group lead of Southern California Earthquake Center through an email before the earthquake happened to demonstrate our willingness in helping people at risk to manage their risks, especially financial risks. We are proud that we can help the residents, authorities and business owners for the future major earthquakes by giving them more time to prepare and protect themselves and their assets. We believe that our service can save lives and reduce losses in the face of natural disasters.