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3.2-magnitude earthquake, 4 aftershocks hit Berkeley

Five small earthquakes rattled Berkeley early Tuesday morning. Image: U.S. Geological Survey
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According to the U.S. Geological Survey, a 3.2-magnitude earthquake jolted Berkeley awake at 1:07 a.m. It was followed by two smaller aftershocks in the area within 20 minutes, a third aftershock at 2:06 a.m., and another at 2:15 a.m.

Initial reports placed the epicenter of the first temblor in Tilden Regional Park near Seaview Trail and Vollmer Peak Road, with a quake depth of 4.5 miles.

Numerous Berkeley residents on Twitter said it woke them up. Said Seth Candin: “Whole building jumped and shook.” Added Robert Gordon: “Apartment definitely just shook!”

Some called it scary, and others described it as small, but many noted that they most certainly felt it. … Continue reading »

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

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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. … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 05.28.13

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Wozniak’s email tax: Good sense or nonsense?

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Earlier this week, readers reacted with skepticism after Berkeley City Councilman Gordon Wozniak suggested that taxing email might be one way to raise money for the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service.

Wozniak told the council: “There should be something like a bit tax. I mean a bit tax could be a cent per gigabit and they would still make, probably, billions of dollars a year… And there should be, also, a very tiny tax on email,” perhaps one-hundredth of a cent. He said this would discourage spam and not have much impact on the typical Internet user. Wozniak went on to suggest a sales tax on internet transactions that could help, in part, fund “vital functions that the post office serves.”

One Berkeleyside Twitter follower called the idea “unworkable insanity.” Wrote another: “This is just insane. Does the esteemed councilman have the first clue how the Internet works?”

But there’s a history to this idea, however outlandish as it might sound to some.  … Continue reading »

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Berkeley History

Are we ready for a repeat of the 1868 earthquake?

eq pen and ink from fran eq  lower res 054[1]
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By Richard Schwartz

It is a sobering endeavor to remember the 1868 Hayward Fault earthquake, the last major eruption on our local fault. The USGS states that major, destructive earthquakes occur along the Hayward Fault, on average, every 138 years. This means that, since 2006, we have been due for another. There is no doubt that the Hayward Fault, the most densely populated earthquake fault in the United States, is going to lash out mightily sometime soon.

Is “soon” in a few decades, a few years, or a few minutes?

The fact is that, as a community, we have chosen to ignore what happened on October 21, 1868, at 7:54am, and at what is most likely in store for us. Few know the facts of this history. What is to be seen is not pretty. It is rather ominous.

The forty-five-second 1868 Hayward earthquake (over 2½ times longer in duration than the Loma Prieta quake, and equal in intensity to the 1906 San Francisco earthquake) arrived with a rumble and then increased shaking. Then it stopped for a second or two. It then resumed with a growing and overwhelming power and clamor. It ended with an oscillating motion in many locations. … Continue reading »

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On Saturday: Berkeley practices for a major earthquake

The bright red line shows the Hayward Fault running through Berkeley
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Tomorrow morning, a (simulated) 6.9 earthquake on the Hayward Fault hits Berkeley. Do you know what to do in a major disaster?

Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) from across the city will be participating in a live exercise both to test their skills and to spread the word about effective disaster preparedness.

“This is the first time Berkeley has done this kind of citywide exercise,” said Deputy Fire Chief Gil Dong. “It’s designed to get people prepared and aware about supporting themselves during a disaster.”

Dong said that 150 people representing 66 groups and many individuals had signed up for the exercise. “Getting this type of response the first time and on a Saturday in May is fantastic,” he said. Last year, the city did a more limited emergency exercise focused on radio communications. … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 03.07.12

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4.0 earthquake felt in Berkeley at 5.33 am Monday

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Update, 3:20 pm: USGS updated the initial earthquake quake that happened at 5:33:12 am this morning from magnitude 2.9 to 3.5.

Update, 9:35 am: This morning’s 4.0 magnitude earthquake, which was 5.7 miles deep, was immediately preceded by a 2.9 magnitude quake — which is why many reported feeling two distinct shakes. It was followed by two aftershocks: a 2.0 magnitude quake at 6:03am, then a 1.1 magnitude at 6:29am.

Berkeleysiders who lived very close by felt … Continue reading »

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Small temblor shakes Berkeley

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A 2.7 magnitude earthquake shook Berkeley at 9:18 pm Thursday, with its epicenter in the Berkeley hills near Berkeley National Laboratory, according to the USGS.

The shaking was felt all over town.  @nmsanchez tweeted “Earthquake shook hard in West Berkeley.”

No damage has been reported.

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The Berkeley Wire: 11.11.11

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Berkeley city: No truth to viral email predicting quake

The Hayward Fault runs along the East Bay hills and through the cities of Richmond, El Cerrito, Berkeley, Oakland, Fremont, San Jose and others.
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UPDATE 4:07 pm: Genie Stowers, the professor who sent out the original email issued an apology this afternoon by email. Here it is:

Last week, I sent out an email to family and close friends and colleagues about recent earthquakes.

My intent was to pass on a message that they should take the occurrence of these recent earthquakes as an opportunity to make sure their earthquake kits and other emergency measures were up to date.

It is unfortunate that this email instead went viral and has caused great concern among many in the Berkeley area.

My message was not intended to be a commentary on earthquake science, on City of Berkeley preparedness, or on anything else except that folks should get ready. The message was intended to be, preparedness is good.

I apologize for what has happened and the concerns this caused. It was a mistake and I regret that it happened. … Continue reading »

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A 3.6 quake shakes Berkeley at 5:36 am Thursday

The epicenter of the October 27 quake was at the Cal Memorial Stadium
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Update, 9:45am: If there’s one thing this series of Berkeley earthquakes is good for, it is reminding us to get prepared for the eventuality of a big one. The 72 hours website does a good job of presenting the essential information about planning for a disaster. FAQs about earthquake preparedness can be found on the USGS website. And here’s the essential list of what you should have in store.

Update, 9:17am: Wondering why quake magnitudes are often up- or down-graded … Continue reading »

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Quakes: All you wanted to know but were afraid to ask

Screen shot 2011-10-24 at 11.42.14 AM
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Last week’s series of earthquakes in Berkeley had Berkeleyans, including Berkeleyside readers, all a-twitter about the possible significance of the rash of tremors, their concentration and location. We spoke to geophysicist Paul Caruso at the National Earthquake Information Center to sort out fact from fiction.

What can you tell us about the recent quakes centered in Berkeley?
The magnitude 4:0 quake [which was felt at 2:41 pm on Thursday October 20] was followed by several aftershocks in the area of rupture over the next few days as the earth tried to come back into equilibrium. Aftershocks are defined as being smaller than the original quake.

Some Berkeleyside readers said they thought a series of small quakes was a good thing because it indicated a “release of pressure” on the Hayward fault line; others said it indicated a “build-up to a big one”. Are either of these ideas valid?
Both are legitimate theories. The truth is we don’t know whether earthquakes like these are relieving pressure or whether pressure is building. … Continue reading »

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