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Magnitude-4.0 Piedmont earthquake wakes up Berkeley

Quake map
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An earthquake in neighboring Oakland jolted Berkeley awake just before 6:50 a.m. Monday.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) initially registered the quake as a magnitude 4.2, but soon downgraded it to a magnitude 4.0. Its epicenter was two-thirds of a mile north of Piedmont (3.2 miles southeast of Berkeley). It struck at 6:49 a.m.

BART held trains while it undertook a system-wide check. It estimated it would be a 10-minute delay at 7:14 a.m. At 7:26 a.m. BART tweeted: “No damage found to tracks or yards following small quake. All trains held for inspection and moving again.”

At 7:13 a.m. the CHP tweeted that no damage had been reported on any Bay Area freeways. … Continue reading »

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News

Berkeley residents feel 4.0M earthquake, aftershocks

The USGS reported an earthquake in Fremont early Tuesday morning. Image: USGS
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Numerous Berkeley residents woke up just after 2:40 a.m. Tuesday due to a 4.0-magnitude earthquake reported north of Fremont.

At least eight aftershocks had been reported, following the original incident, as of 3:20 a.m.

According to the U.S. Geological Service, a 4.0-magnitude quake was reported at 2:41 a.m. 2 miles north of Fremont, about 30 miles from Berkeley.

On Twitter, local residents reported feeling the quake.

“Very slight swaying on fourth floor downtown Berkeley,” wrote one.

Many others said they felt it, too. … Continue reading »

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Water conservation gets serious with restrictions, fines

EBMUD employee Mark Bolton at Camanche. Photo: EBMUD
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Hosing down your driveway, watering your yard more than twice a week, or washing your car with a hose without a shutoff nozzle are forbidden in Berkeley, as the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) faces its worst water supply in nearly 40 years.

These are a few of the new mandatory conservation restrictions announced last week by the utility district, which is seeking a 20% water reduction for all of its 1.3 million customers, compared to 2013.

The yard watering must be before 9 a.m. or after 6 p.m. and not within 48 hours of a measurable rainfall, and sidewalks can’t be washed either. … Continue reading »

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Community

The unsolved mystery of the Berkeley boom

Some have posited that homemade firework rocket may be causing the Berkeley boom. Photo: Jeremy Brooks
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For more than a month, residents around Berkeley have wondered online about a recurring nighttime boom that has woken babies, freaked out pets and set off car alarms.

The sound, which has become known on Twitter as the #BerkeleyBoom, has been heard around the city, though it has been concentrated primarily in the southern part of town.

On numerous instances, police have gone out to investigate, but were unable to locate the source and found no indication of a crime. City spokesman Matthai Chakko said Monday there have been no calls to Berkeley’s 311 service center about the sound. So its source remains a mystery.

On Sunday, a Twitter user named LP described the “Loudest #Berkeleyboom yet. Scared me half to death. @berkeleyside – seriously – is this still ‘fireworks’?!”

Heather Hardison added: “I could hear all my neighbors up talking about it in startled voices. What the heck is it?”

Wrote cirus206: “I might not know what #berkeleyboom is but damn would I like to find out.” … Continue reading »

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News

The Berkeley Wire: 08.26.14

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Sunday’s quake: UC Berkeley scientists gave 10-second warning; a wake-up call for emergency preparedness

Unbeknownst to some, the magnitude 6 Napa County earthquake that woke many people up in Berkeley at 3:20 a.m. on Sunday morning was “predicted” by scientists in our very city with a 10-second warning about the trembler.

The alert was issued by the UC Berkeley Seismological Laboratory’s ShakeAlert earthquake early-warning project. The demonstration warning system provided 10 seconds warning (as shown in the video above) at laboratories in Berkeley, San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose. It preceded a quake that was the largest to hit the San Francisco Bay Area since the devastating 6.9-magnitude Loma Prieta earthquake 25 years ago in 1989.

ShakeAlert is not a predictive tool — predicting quakes is still beyond the expertise of even the most eminent seismologists; rather it is being developed to act as an early-warning system to help minimize quake damage. For example, with even a little warning, BART trains could slow down to avoid derailment, utilities companies could shut off gas vales to prevent fires, elevators could be stopped and their doors opened at a floor, and surgeons could stop operating.  … Continue reading »

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Magnitude 6 earthquake rattles Berkeley in early hours

USGS shake map for the Aug. 24 American Canyon earthquake shows where it was felt most intensely.
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A magnitude 6 earthquake shook many people awake in Berkeley at 03:20:44 a.m. on Sunday Aug. 24.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the epicenter of the shaker was 4 miles north-west of  American Canyon, California, and registered a depth of 6.7 miles. American Canyon is north of Vallejo and about 28 miles north of Berkeley.

People took to Twitter almost immediately after the quake, which was felt around the Bay Area and lasted a significant time. It was described by one person as “a long roll.” … Continue reading »

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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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News

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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News

The Berkeley Wire: 05.28.13

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Wozniak’s email tax: Good sense or nonsense?

Wozniak
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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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Nature

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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