Magnitude 4.4 Earthquake Shakes the Bay Area: USGS

Magnitude 4.4 Earthquake Shakes the Bay Area: USGS

Magnitude 4.4 Earthquake Shakes the Bay Area: USGS

Its epicenter was in Berkeley, across the bay from San Francisco, but was felt up to 40 miles away.

The people of Berkeley and nearby cities had awakened due to the severe shaking.

At a press conference, USGS officials said there was a small probability that this quake was a fore shock and will be followed by a big natural disaster: "Looking historically. about 5% of the time earthquakes are followed by larger earthquakes", said USGS quake Science Center Deputy Director Keith Knudson.

The historic luxury hotel had no damage, an employee said, declining to give her name. "This quake was right in the center of the Bay Area, and it was very widely felt throughout".

"The real question is: is this a foreshock to something larger?"

USGS Geologist David Schwartz said the natural disaster struck in an area that has seen dozens of smaller quakes over the last decade.

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'We live in natural disaster country so we should do all the things they tell us to do, ' Knudsen said. The quake on the Hayward Fault was initially reported a higher magnitude but later downgraded.

The Hayward fault is the current fault with the highest probability of an quake to happen, according to Drysdale.

At a Safeway in San Leandro, one person reported that the quake had knocked down a ceiling panel and also shaken some items from the grocery store shelves.

"The last big quake on the Hayward fault happened about 150 years ago, in 1868". Thirty people died then and there was extensive damage. This fault zone runs from San Pablo Bay in the north to Fremont in the south-passing through Berkeley, Oakland, Hayward and Fremont. The trouble now though is that the population along the fault is 100 times larger, with an estimated two million people living directly on top of it.

The USGS calls the fault a "tectonic time bomb" which could "cause hundreds of deaths, leave thousands homeless and devastate the region's economy".

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