2 earthquakes shake up San Francisco Bay Area 

click to enlarge Alexander Hwee, 6, left, huddles with fellow students under a desk at Ansgar Larsen Elementary School in Oxnard, Calif., on Thursday during the Great ShakeOut. Hours after the statewide event, two earthquakes hit the Bay Area. (Anthony Plascencia/AP) - ALEXANDER HWEE, 6, LEFT, HUDDLES WITH FELLOW STUDENTS UNDER A DESK AT ANSGAR LARSEN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN OXNARD, CALIF., ON THURSDAY DURING THE GREAT SHAKEOUT. HOURS AFTER THE STATEWIDE EVENT, TWO EARTHQUAKES HIT THE BAY AREA. (ANTHONY PLASCE
  • Alexander Hwee, 6, left, huddles with fellow students under a desk at Ansgar Larsen Elementary School in Oxnard, Calif., on Thursday during the Great ShakeOut. Hours after the statewide event, two earthquakes hit the Bay Area. (Anthony Plasce
  • Alexander Hwee, 6, left, huddles with fellow students under a desk at Ansgar Larsen Elementary School in Oxnard, Calif., on Thursday during the Great ShakeOut. Hours after the statewide event, two earthquakes hit the Bay Area. (Anthony Plascencia/AP)

Two earthquakes rattled the Bay Area on Thursday just hours after millions of people statewide practiced how to respond to the big one.

The first temblor clocked in at magnitude 4.0 about 2:45 p.m.; the second measured 3.8 and happened about 8:15 p.m. The first quake was centered 2 miles from Berkeley and the second a mile from that city, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

But according to earthquake expert Dale Grant, the similarities and timing are merely a coincidence.

“Well, that’s perhaps a little unusual, but it’s not completely unheard of,” said Grant, a USGS geophysicist.

On Thursday morning, about 8.5 million people in California, including about 1.3 million in the Bay Area alone, participated in the Great ShakeOut, an earthquake-response drill.

Mayor Ed Lee said in a statement the matinee quake was  a reminder of the importance of the drill.

“The question is when, not if, there will be a major earthquake in the San Francisco Bay Area,” Lee said.

Both earthquakes snarled public transit for about half an hour, with Muni and BART halting trains to check for damage. Caltrain spokeswoman Christine Dunn said the earthquake did not disrupt Caltrain service.

The quakes also came almost 22 years to the day after the Loma Prieta earthquake struck the Bay Area on Oct. 17, 1989, during the World Series.

sgantz@sfexaminer.com

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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