5.7-Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Northern California

Greenville earthquake epicenter
Map of earthquake location yesterday (May 23, 2013) in Northern California. (Image credit: USGS)

An earthquake of preliminary magnitude 5.7 struck Northern California yesterday (May 23), according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

The temblor's epicenter was 7 miles (11 kilometers) west-northwest of Greenville, Calif., 27 miles (43 km) southwest of Susanville, Calif., and 113 miles (182 km) north-northeast of Sacramento, Calif.

It originated 6.8 miles (11 km) deep and struck at 8:47 p.m. local time, the USGS reports.

There was strong shaking around Susanville, according to the USGS. Early damage reports posted on Twitter included broken bottles and glasses and pictures knocked off walls. The earthquake was felt throughout Northern California in Sacramento, Lake Tahoe and San Francisco and was also felt in Reno, Nev., the USGS reports.

Earthquakes of this size are often felt across a wide area and may cause minor to moderate damage, such as cracked plaster. They can cause significant damage in areas with outdated building standards. But the damage caused by any single event depends on the quake's depth, proximity to populated areas, building standards in the region, as well as the type of earthquake. The USGS frequently updates the magnitude of an event after more data is analyzed.

An earthquake's magnitude is a measure of the energy released at the source. It is just one predictor of the shaking that may ensue, which is affected by local and regional geology. Scientists know in a general sense what causes earthquakes but are unable to predict specific quakes.

This article will be updated if significant additional information becomes available. Find more earthquake news here.

Live Science Staff
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