Early this morning, Thursday, January 4th, residents of San Francisco’s Bay Area were shaken awake by a magnitude 4.4 earthquake. According to the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco earthquake was felt for about five to 10 seconds and was centered along the Oakland-Berkeley border.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) initially ranked the earthquake as a magnitude 4.7, but quickly downgraded it to a 4.5 and then to a 4.4, according to CBS SF Bay Area. An earthquake of this magnitude is not expected to cause damage, USGS seismologist Robert Sanders told the Times. However, some older structures may have been affected.
The quake hit just before 2:40 a.m. local time and was strong enough to wake some Bay Area residents from their sleep. Vibrations could be felt as far away as Silicon Valley and Sonoma County. The quake’s epicenter was located on Claremont Ave., across the street from the historic Claremont Hotel.
LATimes.com reported that the quake is a result of the Hayward fault line that runs directly underneath Berkeley, Oakland, Hayward and Fremont. On average, the fault line causes an earthquake about every 160 years. In 1868, a magnitude 6.8 earthquake in this region resulted in 30 deaths and extensive property damage.
The Hayward fault line is considered one of the most dangerous fault lines in the United States because of the urban centers that sit above it. The USGS predicts that a magnitude 7.0 earthquake could claim hundreds of lives and ruin cities.
As of right now, two million people live directly on top of the fault line.
We’re glad this morning’s earthquake was minor and that the Bay Area will resume normal daily activity today.