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Latino Daily News

Sunday August 24, 2014

Northern California Experiences Most Powerful Earthquake in 25 Years

Northern California Experiences Most Powerful Earthquake in 25 Years

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A magnitude-6.1 earthquake shook Northern California on Sunday, injuring at least 120 people and cutting electric power across the region. It was the largest temblor registered in the area since the magnitude-7.0 Loma Prieta quake in 1989, the U.S. Geological Survey, or USGS, said.

The quake - originally gauged as a magnitude-6.0 tremor - struck at 3:20 a.m. and had its epicenter located 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) below the earth’s surface about 10 km southwest of the city of Napa and a little more than 80 km (about 50 mi.) southwest of Sacramento.

Three of the people injured in Napa - which suffered extensive structural damage - are in critical condition, including a boy who was hurt when the chimney in his home collapsed.

A fire in a mobile home park destroyed at least three homes in Napa, where the quake filled some of the streets with fallen bricks, broken windows and other wreckage.

The city of Napa said that 120 people are receiving or have received medical treatment at local Queen of the Valley hospital.

Napa city administrator Mike Parnass confirmed at a press conference that three buildings in the town’s historic center suffered major damage and authorities declared 16 buildings, one of them a retirement home, uninhabitable after the quake.

There are multiple reports of power outages, gas leaks and flooding in the San Francisco Bay Area and at least 20,000 Pacific Gas and Electric Co. customers are without electricity in Vallejo, Napa, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa and Sonoma, the San Francisco Chronicle and other sources said.

Officials are continuing to inspect the area for possible damage to infrastructure and closed two highways to evaluate their condition although the bridges in the Bay Area do not appear to have suffered any damage, according to the California Highway Patrol.

So far, the precise fault line producing the quake has not been determined, but the USGS said on Twitter that “the Browns Valley section of the West Napa fault is suspected.”

The temblor was followed half an hour later by about half a dozen minor aftershocks, the largest of which was measured at magnitude-4.0, the USGS said, adding that there is a 54 percent chance that a strong aftershock will occur within the next week.

Local schools will remain closed on Monday in the region and the Red Cross has established an evacuation center to house residents who have been made homeless.

California Gov. Jerry Brown on Sunday declared a state of emergency in the affected zone, a move that will facilitate the funneling of resources to the state agencies tasked with aiding the population after the quake.

The Loma Prieta quake in October 1989 killed 63 people, destroyed 16,000 homes, wrecked part of the Bay Bridge - the long suspension bridge linking San Francisco with the eastern shore of the same-named bay - and caused $6 billion in damages. Since then, the bridge has been strengthened to resist a new temblor.

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