Quake hits Berkeley: 4.2 downgraded to 3.9, then 4.0

Epicenter of today's earthquake: Berkeley's Clark Kerr campus

Update, 5:36pm: The Berkeley Police Department reports receiving a “minimal” number of calls regarding ringing alarms from both community members and from various security/alarm companies’ monitoring services. There are no reports of damage or injury to this minute. BPD also did a roll call directly following the quake to check the status of each of its Officers in the field/patrol and Parking Enforcement Officers and all were OK.

Update, 5:05pm: There have been two small aftershocks since the 2:41pm quake. The latest, according to USGS, is a 2.2 at 4:50pm which was 2 miles ESE of Berkeley. There was also a magnitude 1.8 at 3:09pm 2 miles ESE of Berkeley.

Update, 4:59pm: Comments still coming in from readers. At 3:13pm, Bright Shadow, wrote: “I’m in Rockridge and what was scary and strange about this particular quake was that I could hear what sounded like glass and plates shattering for 2 whole seconds before the shake happened. My mother 4 blocks away heard the same thing and believed it came from underground? I wonder if theres some great crystal cavern under our houses.”

Update: 4:40pm: “Shocking” before and after photograph of earthquake damage in Berkeley, courtesy of @EzekielSF on Twitter.

Update, 4:24pm: USGS now reporting the quake was a 4.0. Of course those Berkeleyans who felt it knew it was in the 4s not the 3s, right? Depth also changed: now reported as 9.8, not 8.4 kilometers as previously stated.

Update, 3:21pm: One reader described the quake as “jolt, jitter and a roll”. Does that correspond to what you felt?

Update, 3.16pm: People from as far as Palo Alto and Concord report feeling the quake. Many expressing surprise that it was not a bigger magnitude. Early guesses were coming in over 4.0 which was also close to the original USGS estimate of 4.2.

Update, 3:09pm: The inevitable arrival of the choppers: helicopters are flying over Berkeley. What do they expect to see?

Update, 3.07pm: BART reporting 15-min delays for track inspections following quake.

Update, 3:10pm: Ironic coincidence: The quake struck on the same day that there was a statewide earthquake drill — this morning at 10:20pm.

Originally reported as a 4.2, the quake was downgraded to a 3.9

Update, 3:04pm: Berkeleysiders are leaving comments and using Twitter to update us on their experience of the quake. So far, nobody seems to have suffered any injuries, although many people were shaken by the strength of the jolts which seemed to last a few seconds. Berkeleyside asked via Twitter if any Berkeleyans suffered any damage, and David Weitz replied: “Damage to my productivity because everyone wants to chat about it – does that count?”

 Update, 2:54pm: #Berkeley Twitter stream is moving too fast to read. So far no reports of damage.

Update, 2:50pm: Latest data shows the magnitude to be 3.9 and reports it as being 1 mile ESE of Berkeley.

Update, 2:46pm: The USGS reported a 4.2 magnitude quake with its epicenter at the Clark Kerr campus — according to the data on the I Felt That app.

2.42pm: A quake that was bound to be felt by all in Berkeley struck at 2:41pm today, 2 miles ESE of the city. The quake had a depth of 8.4 kilometers, according to the USGS.  At the time of writing USGS had not reported on its magnitude.

We will provide updates.

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  • Big jolt up at LBNL

  • elisabeth

    Wow! that WAS quick!!

    Loved it — riding high in the tallest building in berkeley near the top floor! Wheeeee!!!!

  • lona

    live in pinole and this quake just shook my house for several seconds

  • John Holland

    Magnitude 4.2, epicenter at Clark Kerr Track!

  • Really felt it in West Berkeley. But the surrounding homes are fine. Everything still on the shelves. Just felt, I don’t know, DEEP.

  • Anonymous

    That was the first earthquake I’ve felt in quite awhile, wow, felt like I was on a rollercoaster for a few seconds there.

  • Felt like a 5 in downtown SF today.  I’m on the 4th floor of a brick-retrofit building.

  • Anonymous

    Felt it in Concord

  • Derya

    felt it, strong Concord 94520

  • Modocdave3

    Well, it was certainly quick, but my office chair now has teeth marks in it, lol. 

  • Anonymous

    I’ve been in California for four years now, three in Berkeley.  That was the first time I was legitimately frightened by a quake.

    Short but VERY strong shaking here in central Berkeley.

  • Valeribach

    My house is near Rose on Spruce.  It jolted so hard, I actually felt scared.

  • Jamocamac

    Felt slight shaking for about 5 seconds here in Dublin, Ca… Earthquakes ROCK!

    *Remembers the 89′ earthquake from Alamo, Ca

  • Irisandjules

    felt it in Danville; very mild but my chair swayed. I asked my co-workers and they thought I imagined it until my husband called from Berkeley.

  • Guest

    Yes, felt in Concord too

  • Standing on platform at McArthur BART it was like the whole station was rolled over bumpy tracks. Duration long enough to grab a railing and see lights cut out and then back on.

    Now trains are being held while they check the system.

  • Toni

    felt like a quick 5pt  8th floor downtown Oakland

  • Summerjustice

    Get you earthquake and weather forecasts and find out how to overcome nature!  Make sure that the little earthquake is the wake up call.

  • Toni

    In Hearst Gymnasium 2nd-floor office and it was a whole lotta shakin’ goin on (seemingly for approximately 1.5 seconds).  

  • Was on phone interview. Had to excuse myself to report on earthquake, once my hands stopped shaking!

  • jay

    felt it at mission bay ucsf campus, never experienced anything like that :))

  • Oyveyboy

    I felt it here in the Mission in San Francisco. A bottle fell off a shelf in my house, and my dog barked at it! ;)

  • John Holland

    wow! which building?!

  • Mchlshahn

    Big jolt up here on Prospect and Channing in the Berkeley hills, accompanied by mild aftershock

  • Anonymous

    That’s what I thought.  Sitting on the 7th floor, one of the more powerful quakes I’ve felt.  Surprised it was only a 4.2, which I’ve been through before.

  • Reminds me just how strong the 7.1 in 1989 was. This one today was a powerful jolt.

  • Alina

    Felt more like a 5. 
    But wait there’s an app for (i felt) that? w00t!

  • NAParish

    It was a pretty powerful jolt here on on the top floor in downtown Oakland — and the whole building seemed to go up and down rather than side to side.

  • Bright Shadow

    Im in rockridge and what was scary and strange about this particular quake was that I could hear what sounded like glass and plates shattering for 2 whole seconds before the shake happened. My mother 4 blocks away heard the same thing and believed it came from underground?? >.>

    I wonder if theres some great crystal cavern under our houses o.o

  • Anonymous

    In downtown Berkeley, it felt like our building was being attacked by a Giant with a jackhammer.

  • JJ Chong

    Felt at 94103 23 floors up as a single, sharp jolt.  Almost thought they’d started driving piles next door as traffic/pedestrians outside seemed unaffected.

  • Ryan Kerian

    Over the years I’ve never felt a single quake until this one. Entire house near San Pablo Park shaking and things falling off the shelf. I’ve missed so many 3.9’s that I was sure this one was stronger…

  • sg

    There’s a good map of where the earthquake was centered at

  • Indeed. Compared to the prolonged rolling sensation of the ’89 earthquake this was just a minor tremor.

    Today’s quake was a very strong jolt, but I was surprised at how quickly it was over.

  • punaise

    Quite a good double jolt here in North Oakland,a block from the Berkeley border. No damage. My initial guess was 4.5.

    Great timing with the statewide earthquake drills today!

  • Ksri

    It was like a BIG THUD and then SHAKE. It was scary on the 19th floor in downtown Oakland.

  • I am on the sixth, top floor of my downtown Berkeley apartment. I have lived here almost three years. This was the hardest shake I have felt since moving to Berkeley. It was a hard shake. It felt, sorta, like an explosive had gone off in one of the floors below me, causing my building to shake really hard. And it was only a very short, hard shake but maybe since it was so hard, it felt longer than it was. I had enough time to remind myself that my building was new when I moved into it in Feb 2009 and would surely has all the latest earthquake engineering. I was thinking: if this hard shaking were to last a few minutes, how could buildings around downtown now be broken some? But then the shake was over.

    Knowing nothing about earthquake scores, I actually thought “I am betting 4.2”.  I am disappointed that it has been officially declared a 3.9. It was a hard, tough shake, eh?!

  • Siddika

    GREAT to have breaking news from Berkeleyside! I hope people are subscribing to your fine online news service. It’s only $5 a month and a bargain. You keep getting better and better!

  • Anonymous

    A very hard hit here in N. Berkeley on Grant near Cedar.  It’s the velocity ( speed ) of the shock wave or jolt that really does the damage in quakes or jolts such as these.  Biggest direct hit since the ’89 quake which was very very different.  News coppers still buzzing overhead at 5 pm. Wish every building in Berkeley and the Bay Area were retrofitted!  It could be a national ‘back to work’ and ‘rebuilding America’ Federal jobs program.  Many of them ( houses ) are going to be just knocked off of their foundations with the first real bad hit like this. Then the fire arrives and does the real damage.  Note to Federal Government: You can pay *now* or pay later with this.  

  • Thanks Siddika! I hope people consider subscribing too. We would love to be able to cover more stories but we need more reader support to do so.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve been dragging my feet and meaning to do it eventually.  I’m in for $10/month.  Between earthquake coverage and the great firestorm series, I think that’s a totally fair price to pay.

  • Thank you Chris in Berkeley. Your support of local journalism is much appreciated.

  • Since when have professional baseball players carried jackhammers? :-)

  • Probably a good time to remind people that the Richter scale is logarithmic, so a 7 is 1,000 times stronger than a 4 (10^4 vs 10^7).

    Also an interesting coincidence that today was also the “Great Shake Out” where schools, cities, and businesses around the Bay Area did a duck and cover drill. At my school in Concord we had a drill, then talked about earthquakes, then experienced one a few hours later. 

  • At my office in Walnut Creek, bending over a low file drawer — felt myself topple over a bit and figured I’d lost my balance — stood up to my boss saying ‘did you feel that?” NO, I just fell into a file drawer… the light fixture kept swinging for a couple minutes, you could feel the vibrations as the aftershock continued… interesting. 

  • Bruce Love

    8:17 — that was entertaining.

  • damn.  more now!

  • yeah, damn.  walls shaking.  great day for a ‘quake drill

  • Harryhood247

    Just felt another big jolt.  shook the house at about 8:15 PM ish …  very quick like 3 seconds long.  nothing feel off the shelves.