Second quake shakes Midpeninsula Sunday

Epicenters for both are in Los Altos

Two earthquakes, apparently along the Cascade fault line, shook parts of the Midpeninsula Sunday, the first occurring at 9:28 a.m. and the second at 6:38 p.m. according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Both were centered in Los Altos.

The evening temblor was a 2.4 magnitude, with an epicenter along Altos Oaks Drive. View the map.

Its depth was recorded as 2.1 miles, the USGS reported.

The earlier quake, a 3.1 magnitude, was centered less than 0.3 miles away on Briarwood Court, which is near Springer Road and Foothill Expressway.

The depth of the quake was also 2.1 miles, according to the Geological Survey.

Kathy Hobson, a resident on Briarwood, said nothing was damaged by the quake in her home or on the street.

"It was a loud bang," Hobson said. "My dog came and looked at me and said what's going on? The lights were swinging, but nothing fell off


Another resident on the street, who did not want to be named, said it "sounded like a freight train" when the quake hit.

"It shocked me out of my chair," she said.

In Mountain View, the morning temblor felt like a single jolt, one resident reported.

View the map of the morning quake's epicenter.

Click here for a map containing local fault lines.

The map appears to show the quakes' epicenters falling along the Cascade fault line. However, Leslie Gordon, a USGS spokesperson, said a seismologist Monday is checking the data to determine whether the quakes originated in the Monta Vista fault instead.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

— Palo Alto Weekly staff

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Like this comment
Posted by Scott Barnum
a resident of Atherton: other
on Dec 20, 2010 at 3:38 pm

This could have been worse...

Sooner or later an earthquake of significant magnitude will likely hit in our area. If folks think we're "immune" or it can't/won't happen here then they should check with the USGS in Menlo Park to get their latest projections. They are sobering.

While the state, county and many of the Peninsula's local municipal governments have made good progress in preparing for a major natural disaster, most individual homeowners have not done enough, if any, planning for an emergency like an earthquake. The experts now say that individual households need to be ready to survive on their own without utilities and services for seven days and nights.

As individual citizen-residents, we should prepare our homes and families as if the professional responders (e.g., fire/police/EMT's) won't be able to help us at all in the event of an major earthquake. Indeed, should the big one hit, it is highly likely that the first responder will be a neighbor, not a policeman. Many of our local police and fire personnel don't live locally and may not even be able to get to our towns given traffic or the road conditions. Even if they are local, they will likely respond to major problems and events first (e.g., fires, explosions, accidents) and will need to employ some form of triage.

The more we are prepared as individual households and the less dependent we are on municipal services in the time of an emergency, the better off we will be and the faster we can rebound. We can do our families and our police/fire departments and our towns a great service by being better prepared for a major disaster...

For more information on how you can better prepare your home and family for a major emergency or to volunteer to help, please contact ADAPT (Atherton Disaster and Preparedness Team)a volunteer group of concerned Atherton residents working together with emergency authorities to educate and engage citizens in preparing for natural disasters, pandemics and significant emergency situations at:

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