Berkeley feels 3.0 magnitude quake at 9:26 p.m. Sunday


The epicenter of Sunday’s earthquake was east of South Park Drive in Tilden Regional Park (indicated by the green arrow), according to USGS. Image: Google Maps

A 3.0 magnitude earthquake was felt by many in Berkeley at 9:26 p.m. tonight, Sunday Oct. 6. The quake was 7.4 kilometers deep and USGS put it 4 kilometers ENE of Berkeley.

The epicenter was in Tilden Park, east of South Park Drive, according to the map coordinates: 37.889°N 122.225°, which makes it 4 kilometers WNW of Orinda.

As soon as the sharp shudder was felt, people began sharing their experience of the quake on Twitter. There were reports coming in from downtown Berkeley, Albany, Orinda and many other spots in the surrounding area.

Immediately after the quake, there appeared to be a delay in accessing information on the USGS website, and tweeters speculated that the government shutdown was causing a reduced service. A statement on the USGS site states that due to a lapse in Federal funding, the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program has suspended most of its operations. It reads: “While the USGS will continue to monitor and report on earthquake activity, the accuracy or timeliness of some earthquake information products, as well as the availability or functionality of some web pages, could be affected by our reduced level of operation.”

The earthquake was downgraded to a 3.0 from a 3.1 at by USGS at around 10 p.m. A second, 1.8 magnitude quake occurred at 9:29 p.m., three minutes after the 3.0 one.

This story was updated in line with emerging information. 

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  • Rachel

    Thank you! The USGS site is limited because of the shutdown and it’s my usual go to to find out how big . . . I appreciate the quick reporting

  • Culper Agent 355

    Same here. Thank you.

  • AA

    You guys are on it! Thanks Berkeleyside!

  • Jay G

    Yeah, thanks Berkeleyside…you’re the first with info about the quake that I found!

  • anne

    Being a big quake nerd, I tend to immediately access the USGS website after an earthquake. I didn’t notice any delay, personally. It’s an automated system but it requires some coordination of data among multiple recording sites. (I’m not a geologist but maybe one can chime in and tell me if I’m totally wrong about this.) Typically they appear with the message “This is a computer-generated event…” which is removed later.

  • Chris J

    A rumble …

  • carter_nberkeley

    Okay, so that was 10 times less powerful than the 4.1 jolt a couple of years ago. But a 7.1 quake would be 1000 times more powerful than the 4.1, right? Holy cow!

  • DisGuested

    I found the information at the USGS without any trouble minutes after the tremor, irrespective of the current political theatrics.

  • de

    Not right.
    The “10” refers to base 10 logarithmic scale (see Wikipedia for explanation). Energy release is another matter, and results in enormously larger jumps than you deduce, as magnitude numbers rise along the Richter scale.

  • guest

    Wikipedia says we actually use the Moment Magnitude Scale for large earthquakes instead of the Richter scale. Your point about the 7.1 is well taken, but the energy release goes up by 10^(1.5) == 32 times for each step. So 3 steps is 32000 times the energy.

  • Laura Morland

    I also was able to get information from the USGS site right away: it appears to be well automated.

    As for my personal experience, I live on the first crest of the Berkeley hills, and my stucco house
    rattled for one second, but that was all. No books fell off shelves; my
    husband did not wake up. We did hear a neighbor cry out, “Wow!”, and
    friends in Martinez, the El Cerrito hills and the Berkeley flats also
    reported feeling it as well.

    I figured it must have been a slight, local earthquake, as it turned
    out to be.

    (I didn’t feel the second one at all, though, and I was paying attention, as I was expecting a “follow-up” quake.)

  • PragmaticProgressive

    Not to get into tinfoil haberdashery, but I’d feel a lot more confident in USGS results if I knew that qualified seismologists were fully staffed and able to review the output of the automated systems.

  • Bill N

    I went to the USGS site through the UCB Seismology dept:

    I see there was another small quake about 45 minutes ago (Magnitude:1.7Time (Local):10/07/2013 08:41:49