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Major Quake Shakes No. California, Starts Fires

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Strikes Napa Area

A RELATIVELY LARGE, 6.0 EARTHQUAKE centered just north of San Francisco struck at 3:30 am Pacific Sunday.  The shake caused much damage in the Napa County area and directly led to several fires destroying about six homes in a mobile-home park.

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SF Chronicle

The trailers are fed with natural gas for heat and cooking that began leaking as the homes were shaken off their foundations.  Firefighters were hampered initially because the water main supplying the area broke during the quake.  They tried to control the spreading blaze with booster tanks until several delayed tankers arrived and got the fire under control shortly after 6 am.

The San Francisco Chronicle has the early report plus an extensive photo gallery HERE.

There are many reports of heavy damage in the immediate area, but understandably they are still largely incomplete.  Early information in major events like this is always sketchy and usually revised as more accurate reports come in.  Firegeezer will update if and whenever it becomes necessary.

napa b AP

Associted Press

It is being reported that this is the largest earthquake in the Bay Area since 1989.  The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting:

 A network of seismographs maintained by the USGS and UC Berkeley recorded a preliminary magnitude of 6.0 for the quake and indicated it ruptured at a depth of 6.7 miles – typical for quakes in the Bay Area.

The quake struck 3 miles northwest of American Canyon at 3:20 a.m., but its precise epicenter was uncertain. The USGS tweeted that “there’s no exact determination of the causative fault, though the Browns Valley section of the West Napa Fault is suspected.”

USGS seismologist David Oppenheimer said another possibility was the long-dormant Franklin Fault, whose traces scientists have mapped but has not ruptured for at least 1.6 million years. That fault’s traces run close to the West Napa Fault, he said.

Scientist at the Geological Survey headquarters in Menlo Park said “the probability of a strong and possibly damaging aftershock in the next seven days is approximately 54 percent.”

Check back later for updates.

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Comments - Add Yours

  • Ukfbbuff

    I’m 600 miles South of Napa in So. Cal..

    Glad their were not any fatalities and that those injured make fast recoveries.

    Looks like the buildings that were damaged in the City of Napa, were in those buildings built before 1933 or since then but not brought up to newer earthquake safety codes.

    Those lost to fire, were probably caused by rusted gas lines with the resulting vapor trail finding a source of ignition.