4.2-magnitude earthquake among cluster rattling Northern California, geologists say

Multiple tremors, including a 4.2-magnitude quake, hit Northern California on Friday, Jan. 26, the U.S. Geological Survey reports.

The largest earthquake, which was about 1.4 miles deep, struck at 1:28 p.m. about 1.2 miles north of The Geysers, according to the USGS.

About 250 people from as far away as Nice and San Francisco reported feeling the tremor, according to the agency.

Another jolt, a 3.0-magnitude earthquake, shook the same general area about an hour later, the agency reported.

Two smaller quakes also hit around the same area earlier in the day, according to USGS. The first, a 2.7-magnitude quake, hit at 8:26 a.m., and the second, a 3.1-magnitude tremor, hit just 16 minutes later.

The Geysers is about 100 miles northwest of Sacramento.

What to know about earthquakes

Magnitude is the size of an earthquake, the U.S. Geological Survey says. It replaces the old Richter scale.

Quakes between 2.5 and 5.4 magnitude are often felt but rarely cause much damage, according to Michigan Tech. Quakes below 2.5 magnitude are seldom felt by most people.

Earthquakes’ sudden, rapid shaking can cause fires, tsunamis, landslides or avalanches. They can happen anywhere, but they’re most common in Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Puerto Rico and Washington, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

If an earthquake strikes, it’s best to protect yourself right away. Here are tips from experts:

  • If you’re in a car: Pull over and stop. Set your parking brake.

  • If you’re in bed: Turn face-down and cover your head with a pillow.

  • If you’re outdoors: Stay away from buildings. Don’t go inside.

  • If you’re inside: Stay and don’t run outdoors. Stay away from doorways.

The best way to protect yourself during an earthquake is to drop, cover and hold on, officials say.

“Wherever you are, drop down to your hands and knees and hold onto something sturdy,” officials say. “If you’re using a wheelchair or walker with a seat, make sure your wheels are locked and remain seated until the shaking stops.”

Be sure to cover your head and neck with your arms, and crawl under a sturdy table if possible. If no shelter is available, crawl to an interior wall away from windows.

Once under a table, officials say you should hold on with one hand and be ready to move with it.

“There can be serious hazards after an earthquake, such as damage to the building, leaking gas and water lines, or downed power lines,” officials say. “Expect aftershocks to follow the main shock of an earthquake. Be ready to Drop, Cover, and Hold On if you feel an aftershock.”

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