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Indian Valley Record
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June 5, 2013     Indian Valley Record
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Vol. 83, No. 28 Feather Publishing Co. J. i ..i ,ii.+. -:.+ P&apos;d.-i i_. i,.. i LJ i..'. P,i l:-:' iL:i i :3 i:: + '+ :::::, ,/ :1 :: ai:i ::::} i L.i ii: :-: i i:L:. .< .-' ....:, ........ i::.. i::_' L, ,D ) all of the Indian Valley Area ,e 5, 2013 5O Supervisors ratii:y state of emergency for county Debra Moore flushing the well and piping Samantha Hawthorne Staff Writers dmoore@plumasnews.com shawthorne@plumasnews.com Damages from the 5.7-magnitude earthquake that rocked Plumas County on May 23 have surpassed the $1 million mark. The Board of Supervisors ratified a proclamation declaring a local emergency during a special meeting May 30. Jerry Sipe, director of the county's office of emergency services, said the proclamation allows for continued assessment of damages and mobilizes resources to mitigate the damages that were sustained. Sipe and Seneca Hospital confirmed that two Lake Almanor residents suffered injuries, including a broken leg, when their rock fireplace collapsed on top of them. Most of the damage reports are from the Lake Almanor area; the quake's epicenter was in Canyon Dam. Residences bore the brunt of the impact with more than 60 homes damaged. Sipe provided the following preliminary damage assessment to residential areas: Peninsula: $438,000; 35 structures West A]manor: $462,500; eight structures. East Shore/Hamilton Branch: $143,000; 15 structures. Sipe said that most of the damage is related to collapsed chimneys, but one home in the West Almanor area shifted off of its foundation. When asked if the house could be repaired or if it would need to be demolished, Sipe said that a structural assessment was still being completed. Businesses seemed to have fared better than residences with seven businesses reporting a total of $13,000 in commercial damage. Six water systems were damaged for a total of $40,800. Despite the losses, the county doesn't qualify for state emergency aid. "There are three specific thresholds to meet -- private damages, public infrastructure and commercial losses," Sipe said. For example, in the private damages category, 25 primary residences would have had to report significant damage (40 percent uninsured). Only one homeowner could claim that extent of damage and it is not a primary residence. Sherrie Thrall, the supervisor who represents the Lake Almanor area, said that she had been receiving reports of cloudy water from wells. Sipe said his office has received reports of groundwater wells that turned cloudy after the quake. He said most of the wells have returned to normal after thoroughly II[!!l![!rll!!!!!!ll To subscribe to the Record, call 530-283-0800 for up to 60 minutes. He said anyone continuing to experience cloudy well water or concerns with their drinking water quality should contact a testing laboratory for possible analysis. He said cloudy water by itseff does not mean the well is contaminated. Geologist's observations Professional geologist Charles Watson, who compiles the weekly earthquake report for Feather Publishing, said the temblor was "a purely tectonic earthquake." He said it wasn't related to the Lassen Peak volcano. But that doesn't mean the event won't cause volcanic activity. "The earthquake occurred in proximity to an active volcano," said Watson, who lives in Hamilton Branch. "Just like a warm bottle of pop, if you shake it you will create pressure and that pressure will need to be released. How that release takes place is something that only time will tell. "Part of the physical effects of an earthquake at this magnitude is that domestic wells will become cloudy. The same goes for volcanic activity. The hot springs on Lassen, those are fed by fractures that extend into thermal conditions underneath the volcano," he said. "Those cracks are' going to be affected by the seismic waves as they pass and cause cracks to open up. Dirt, mud and debris get into the water and cause it to be cloudy or turbid. There could be elevated or reduced hot springs activity." Watson said he noticed Domingo Springs had cloudy water after the earthquake. He added the quake was shallow and strong enough to cause surface ruptures. "However, because the epicenter is in forest environment it is unlikely anyone will find any. "A magnitude of 5.7 earthquakes will cause displacements of an inch or two at the most," he said. Stan and Marion Cauwet are pictured in this undated photo. The Cupertino couple were injured when the rock fireplace in their Lake Almanor home collapsed during the May 2] earthquake. Photos courtesy the Cauwet$ The Cauwets' fireplace shows extensive damage after it crumbled during the May 23 earthquake. Stan Cauwet was buried under the rubble and suffered cuts, bruises and a broken leg. Couple ....... injured during quake Dan McDonald Managing Editor dmcdonald@plumasnews.com A Cupertino couple who were visiting their Lake Almanor home suffered injuries when their rock fireplace collapsed during the May 23 earthquake. Stun and Marion Cauwet said they were sitting by the fireplace when the magnitude 5.7 quake struck. Stan Cauwet, 55, sustained a broken left leg, a sprained right ankle.and knee and a gash on his head that required stitches after the fireplace collapsed on top of him. Marion Cauwet, 62, who said she was able to dive under a table, escaped with bruises to her back and head. Stan Cauwet said he was buried in the rocks and couldn't move. His brother-in-law Ed Barnett, who was on the other side of the room when the quake hit, was able to move the rocks and free him. The Cauwets said they gathered themselves togetlier and put out the fire in what was left of their fireplace before driving to Seneca Hospital for treatment. The couple, who lived through the Loma Prieta quake in 1989, said this earthquake felt worse. "It was scarier," Stan Cauwet said. "We were sitting when we felt the initial shock of the earthquake. As soon as we felt the shock we stodd up. When we felt the bigger part of the quake, my wife dove under the table. I started to turn and then got hit by the rocks." The Cauwets said they were in the process of remodeling their home, located at 1238 Peninsula Drive at the Lake Almanor County Club. "I guess we have more remodeling to do," Stan " Cauwetjoked. ',Actually, I think it is a good thing that this earthquake happened when it did. We usually stay here in the spring and fall and rent out our house in the summer. It could have been a little kid that got hurt." In addition to the fireplace, the Cauwets' home sustained damage to the outside. Their chimney collapsed and fell on the deck. The injuries suffered by the Cauwets are the only ones reported to date resulting from the earthquake. "There is not enough energy to cause more. But the 1975 Lake Oroville earthquake, that also measured 5.7, did cause surface fault ruptures. Detailed mapping showed them extending for over a mile and stopping just before the dam. "It is real important to. note, given the location of this earthquake and the dam, that PG&E continue to monitor for structural Integrity over a long period of time," Watson said. "Lake Almanor Dam is an earthen dam, so the chance of any structural compromise is unlikely. However they still need to continue monitoring over several weeks." Aside from the structural damage near the quake's epicenter, Watson said there is not a lot of damage that can happen in the mountains. He said falling rocks accounted for most of the problems. "Almost every road in the Almanor area had some kind of rock fall damage," he said. "Seneca Road was littered with rocks that tumbled down the sides of the cliffs." He said highways 147 and 89 had extensive rock debris Furniture in the Cauwets' Lake Almenor home is demolished after their fireplace collapsed during the earthquake. Marion Ceuwet was able to dive trader a table and suffered minor Injuries. on the pavement. "There could be rocks around any blind corner," he said. "So be cautious when traveling. More rocks could come down during aftershocks., Watson said he took an excursion along Canyon Dam Beach (about 2 miles from the epicenter) and saw evidence that the earthquake caused an 18-inch wave on Lake Almanor. "(A wave) is very typical," Watson said. "We did a pebble count on the beach. When the wavepassed by it lifted up the ground, pebbles became airborne and they shifted to one side. Over two dozen pebbles were moved from their original depression. There were so many that it had to be seismic related." Watson said there is a "statistical chance" of a larger earthquake in the near future. "But as time moves on, that chance deteriorates very rapidly. So if it hasn't happened by now it may not be related to this earthquake but it could happen to any other faults that are now adjusting to this new tectonic stress." Watson said that as long as the aftershocks Continue, people living in the area may notice cloudy water coming out of the tap. He said the best solution is to just run the water for a while. :, "It will be cleaned out ove r time," he said. "People on East Shore will probably have to do that until aftershocks go away." Assessing the damage Residents and business owners in the Lake Almanor area are still dealing with the effects of the quake. Many said it was the biggest earthquake they had experienced. People who have summer homes are returning toflnd damaged furniture, broken glass and flood damage from broken pipes. Connie Slusher, co-owner of Slusher Plumbing in Chester, said, "We've received a flood of calls for earthquake damage." She said her business has received more than 50 calls about water flooding vacant and occupied homes from cracked or broken toilets and pipes. She said copper and galvanized piping was sheered off during the shake. Shane Bergmann,owner of Flooring Brothers in Chester, said he has been dealing with residents who See Emergency, page 5A