California earthquakes: Skateboarders have turned roads cracked by tremors into ramps

Residents remained positive in the aftermath of the powerful tremor near the northern city of Napa on Sunday

It’s a state known for its laidback, outdoor lifestyle – and California residents are dealing with the aftermath of a powerful earthquake in typical West Coast style.

As the clean-up began, following the magnitude-6.0 quake that struck the heart of the state’s wine country early yesterday morning, people remained positive.

And in one Napa neighbourhood, youngsters were seen skateboarding on cracked sidewalks, using the buckled concrete as ramps.

“While it was bad, it wasn't as bad as it could be and it was very manageable from a regional perspective,” said Mark Ghilarducci, director of the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services.

The quake struck about six miles (10 kilometres) south of Napa and lasted 10 to 20 seconds depending on proximity to the epicentre, according to the US Geological Survey.

Scores of people were injured as the tremor knocked out power to thousands, caused gas and water lines to rupture and sparked fires - but no one is believed to have been killed.

Ghilarducci added that the fires were out and power was starting to be restored.

Aftershocks are expected to continue for several weeks, though State Geologist John Parrish said they would decrease in magnitude and it was unlikely that there would be a large follow-up earthquake.

But he warned people to be careful because buildings that were damaged by the quake were now more susceptible to collapse from aftershocks.

Officials are still assessing the damage in hopes of getting a cost estimate they could submit for possible federal government assistance. According to Post Online, the US Geological Survey has said that very early assessments suggest that the damage could reach up to $1billion.

Video: Cost of earthquake damage over $1bn

The earthquake was the largest to shake the San Francisco Bay Area since the magnitude-6.9 Loma Prieta quake struck in 1989, collapsing part of the Bay Bridge roadway and killing more than 60 people, most when an Oakland freeway fell.

Additional reporting by agencies

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