Tag Archives: Berkeley earthquakes

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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Community

Berkeley, Albany disaster prep day comes Oct. 18

Berkeley CERT training, May 2013. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Berkeley’s annual disaster preparedness event is coming up next month with activities to teach residents how to handle kids and pets in an emergency, as well as general skills.

The 2014 event is scheduled for Oct. 18, from 9-11 a.m. It can be customized for any schedule, with exercises that take anywhere from 5 minutes to the whole two hours. It’s a self-directed exercise, which means you can perform the activities in your home or business, or with an organized neighborhood group. … Continue reading »

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Cal prof Joshua Bloom makes earthquake alert kit for $110

Joshua Bloom's homemade earthquake early warning alarm, in a Gregoire box. Photo: Joshua Bloom
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When the Napa earthquake struck on Aug. 24, Joshua Bloom had a 5-second warning.

That’s because the UC Berkeley astronomy professor likes to tinker.

It was when Bloom was a beta tester in the prototype ShakeAlert system being developed by a consortium of seismological researchers (including UC Berkeley), that he came up with an idea.

“I thought it was silly that every time I closed my laptop, I couldn’t get a warning,” he said.

So Bloom cobbled together his own earthquake alarm for just over $100, using a Raspberry Pi single-board computer ($36.39), a wired speaker ($14.99), a mini-WiFi adapter ($6.71), and SD card.

To house it, he uses a box from Grégoire, the local restaurant group known for its crispy potato puffs. And he keeps the device in the living room of his North Berkeley home, next to the fireplace.

ShakeAlert triggered a 10-second early warning alert for the Magnitude 6 Napa quake last month. Bloom’s device provided a five-second warning. (Bloom details how it worked on his blog.)

Meet Joshua Bloom at Uncharted on Oct. 24-25. Get your early-bird tickets now!

For Bloom, this is tinkering with a definite purpose. He sees his demonstration project as validation that Californians could have an earthquake alarm in every home for about the same price as smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms. And he hopes it adds pressure to the legislature to fund the $80 million it will take to roll out the ShakeAlert network beyond its few privileged early testers. … Continue reading »

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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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Are you ready to help kids, pets when disaster strikes?

The Berkeley Emergency Prep Fair is aimed to help residents know what to do with pets and little ones in case of a disaster. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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A brand new interactive fair is coming to Berkeley this weekend, aimed to help residents get prepared for disaster with a focus on children and pets.

The free event, at the North Berkeley BART station, takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 26. There will be food and music, kids’ activities, prizes and games, as well as first aid and CPR training, pet evacuation workshops, a blood drive and much more.

“It’s really geared toward the empowerment of individuals in our community,” said Gradiva Couzin, a Berkeley resident and CERT volunteer who has been helping organize the event. “Our goal is to help everyone recognize their own strengths, and what they can contribute and bring to disaster response.” … Continue reading »

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Berkeley uses free dumpsters to boost disaster prep zeal

To increase community participation in disaster planning and public safety, neighborhoods that regularly collaborate in established city programs are eligible to reserve a dumpster like this with no fee. Photo: City of Berkeley
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The city of Berkeley has brought back its popular “free dumpster” program to turn a neighborhood desire for free garbage hauling into a passion for disaster preparedness activities.

To increase community participation in disaster planning and public safety, neighborhoods that regularly collaborate with the city’s emergency planning programs will be eligible to reserve a 16-cubic-yard dumpster without a fee. … 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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Berkeleyside: A vital news resource in emergencies

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Shortly after 2 p.m. on Friday last week, people all over Berkeley suddenly caught the sharp scent of smoke in the air. Many opened their front doors and stepped outside to see if, perhaps, something in their neighborhood was burning.

Then, many turned to Berkeleyside. Our email inbox and Twitter feed began buzzing: ‘Where’s the fire? What’s that smoke?” people asked.

Senior reporter Emilie Raguso was already on the phone to Berkeley Fire Chief Gil Dong when the questions began to land. Within minutes she had posted the answer on Twitter and Facebook. At 2:30 p.m we published the story: “Solano County smoke blankets Berkeley with smoke.” A change in wind direction was causing pungent smoke from a large grass fire near state Highway 12 in the Suisun City area to settle over the East Bay. Instantly, more than 1,600 people were there, reading the article, and huge numbers of others followed. … 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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Berkeley CERT volunteer academy takes off this weekend

At the end of the training, CERT volunteers who had met Friday, for the most part, as strangers, had bonded through the rigorous program.
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This weekend, about 30 Berkeley community members are slated to complete a 20-hour training provided by the city to give them the skills to organize on their own when disaster strikes and ensure they’re ready with crucial information when emergency crews arrive. The CERT academy, run by the Berkeley Fire Department, is a city program that brings free training to Berkeley residents, who can then go on to take more specialized classes and share information with their neighborhood groups. The weekend training program teaches participants how to set up a chain of command structure and organize into key groups with the aim of turning a chaotic situation into order. Training modules include fire suppression, search and rescue operations and disaster first aid. Earlier this year, Berkeleyside reporter Emilie Raguso was invited to participate in the training course. Scroll down to see her photographs from the May event to see what some local residents will experience this weekend. Learn more about the Berkeley CERT program here.  … Continue reading »

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Berkeley renews focus on retrofitting soft-story buildings

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Property owners, tenants, and city officials gathered Thursday to discuss a proposed ordinance that would require seismic retrofitting of more than 150 residential buildings with soft, weak or open-front conditions, also called soft-story buildings, which are highly at risk of collapsing in strong earthquakes.

But property owners argued at the meeting that “a host of roadblocks” discourages those who want to retrofit their soft-story buildings.

“It becomes very onerous to put your hand up and try to get a permit,” said Jon Vicars, vice president of Berkeley Property Owners Association. … Continue reading »

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