Earthquake San Francisco

March 6, 2012 by staff 

Earthquake San Francisco, A one-two punch of earthquakes rattled nerves in the San Francisco Bay Area on Monday morning, and scientists say the 3.5 and 4.0 magnitude temblors under the city of El Cerrito were reminders of the danger in an area notorious for its seismic risk.

The double jolts — accompanied by two smaller tremors — were too small to release much energy along a restless stretch of the Hayward Fault. This is the fault line most likely to be the source of the Bay Area’s next “Big One,” with a 1-in-3 chance of a 6.7 rupture in the next 30 years, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

While Monday morning’s surprise caused no significant damage, it was a welcome reminder even for scientists to be prepared — especially if the soaring price of gas has your needle near “empty.”

“I had to pop in my car and drive to work — with almost no gas,” said Keith Knudsen, deputy director of the Earthquake Science Center at Menlo Park’s USGS, who was eating breakfast at his Albany home when the 5:33 a.m. PDT temblor struck. “If there’s a big earthquake, with loss of power, it’s good to have more than fumes.”

Witnesses described feeling a small precursor to the larger quake, an observation later confirmed by the USGS.

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