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Moderate earthquake hits northern California

A moderate 5.1-magnitude earthquake hit an offshore area of northern California, but there were no immediate reports of casualties.

world Updated: Oct 26, 2008 17:44 IST

A moderate 5.1-magnitude earthquake hit an offshore area of northern California Sunday morning, but there were no immediate reports of casualties, the US government said.

The epicenter of the tremor, which occurred at 0926 GMT, was located in the Pacific Ocean, 30 kilometers west of the town of Petrolia, the US Geological Survey said.

The reading was based on the open-ended Moment Magnitude scale, now used by US seismologists, which measures the area of the fault that ruptured and the total energy released.

Petrolia, which has an estimated population of fewer than 500 people, is located in the Mattole Valley, next to the Lost Coast Wilderness area, one of the largest nature preserves along the northern California coastline.