Streams

Listeners Report on Bay Area Quake

Monday, August 25, 2014

A building is seen destroyed following a reported 6.0 earthquake on August 24, 2014 in Napa, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty)

Listeners with ties to Napa and the Bay Area call in with reports on yesterday's earthquake and share what it's like to live on fault lines.

Comments [18]

Gerald from Yountville, CA

I live in Tokyo, so I do know about a mindset that combines preparedness with fatalism when it comes to living in an area that is seismically active.

But on Sunday morning I was visiting my mother in Yountville, just north of Napa. This quake was the most violent I'd ever experienced. (I did miss the big, big one in Japan). Many wonder why a relatively small 6.0 M quake did so much damage. It has to do with depth. This 6.0 M quake was shallow at a depth of only 11 km. Many of the larger quakes I've experienced in Japan were far deeper. The building may have rocked but nothing ever fell over. (Also most buildings in Japan constructed since 1995 use steel frame construction, which seems to absorb vibrations better than anything else)

Brian -- your comments about earthquake resistant wine bottles were just a little pre-mature if not flippant. Shops, restaurants and wineries have lost thousands -- maybe tens of thousands -- of bottles. In some facilities racks of barrels came tumbling down. If this quake had occurred in the daytime, we'd be mourning the deaths of a great many winery cellar workers - and perhaps shoppers and pedestrians as well.

Aug. 26 2014 01:55 PM
Joyce Ann Kent from Manhattan

This is from The Week, 4/25/14...Briefing "Waiting for the Big One". WNYC might want to investigate further if CA
has made any progress on developing a system like Japan's where "hundreds of sensors detect the first pulse of an earthquake and send information about its size and location, giving officials a vital several-second head start on the impending disaster. Trains are automatically stopped to avoid derailment, signs are displayed on highways warning motorists not to head onto bridges (or under overpasses?) and messages are even sent out to surgeons so that they can remove their scalpels from patients before the shaking begins. In California, a bill creating such a system passed last year but the state has yet to raise the $80 million needed to properly fund the project."

My husband's California family...3 generations old...were close to the '89 earthquake and quite shaken by the
sensation of their usual firm place....house, yard, etc. rolling and sometimes knocking you over. It hits at a
deep level within one ....a kind of awesome terror....and then it's over... until the aftershocks.

Aug. 25 2014 03:23 PM
Kim from NYC

I lived in San Francisco for 15 yrs ('82 - '97) & didn't think a whole lot about earthquakes until the Loma Prieta earthquake of '89. That changed everything. I was working at Ft Mason, in the Marina area during the quake, built on landfill, as I found out later--very intense shaking & when we got outside, we saw the bldg had moved off it's foundation & there were cracks in the parking lot & the strong smell of gas--we knew we had to leave the area & as we drove away, we saw the plumes of smoke from the fires that were caused by the quake, in the rear view mirror.
Three things I learned that day & after--the type of ground underneath you makes a huge difference in how the earthquake will affect you. My apt was built on granite, so all that happened, just a couple miles from the Marina, was a picture on the wall moved.
Second, there are always aftershocks after a big quake--lots of them. Every aftershock brought me back to that day. They went on for about 3 months...contributing greatly to my PTS.
Thirdly, I realized how much I didn't know about earthquakes & how unprepared I was.
And lastly (I guess there were 4 things..) I realized I would never be able to live there without the fear--not constant, but steady--of it happening again, at any moment.

Aug. 25 2014 12:26 PM
Kevin Murphy from Financial District.

I am a film technician and I went to LA for long job in 1991. After the job ended I remained for several months working and hanging out. One day I finally had enough, I was home sick and tired of traffic. On the way to work one morning stuck in traffic I told my friend that I was going to leave. My career was going very well at the time, and New York in 1992 was not quite the edenic vision it has become, and to the Los Angelenos who were not familiar with NYC it seemed a cold, rainy, forbidding place.

He was aghast that I should turn my back on fair weather and an abundance of work. And I said something to the effect:

"I have been here for 18 months, I have lived through a fire storm, a mudslide, an earth quake, and recently a riot, and you think New York a dangerous place."

Admitted I do miss come mid-February.

Cheers,

Kevin Murphy

Aug. 25 2014 12:02 PM
Andy from Downtown Brooklyn

ExCalifornian here- We just lived with the risk. Earthquakes are not that that frequent so you basically just forget about it until you feel the ground move and then it all comes back. I get people in California ask me how i could live in NYC with the threat of being a target for terrorist activity always loooming over our heads. My answer: I cant live my life under the threat of "what ifs". Enjoy life!

Aug. 25 2014 11:57 AM
Ava

The irony is that, growing up in California, all I ever heard was how terribly dangerous New York was. When I moved there, I found it to be a Paradise.
I still love New York. It wasn't fatal, and neither is California.

Aug. 25 2014 11:57 AM
Alan from Rockaways

I'll take Southern California and its earthquakes any day over the A train.

Aug. 25 2014 11:56 AM
Sara

I grew up in CA and earthquake drills were part of life...I experienced some pretty strong quakes before moving out of the state. My family is in the Bay Area. My son is moving next week from NYC to San Francisco...I have worried about him and terrorist's attacks for the last three years...now I'l will worry about earthquakes!!! (-: I guess that's what mothers do.

Aug. 25 2014 11:55 AM
Denise

I grew up in LA and live in New York now. Californians wonder how New Yorkers cope with living in the top destination for terrorism in the country. 9/11 was more devastating than any earthquake.

Aug. 25 2014 11:54 AM
Danielle from lower east side

I grew up in California with a keen awareness of the possibility of earthquakes, my great grandfather was the mayor of SF in 1905 when the big one hit and my family lived in SF for several generations thereafter so it was a constant reminder. Now I live in NY but work in the wine importing industry and it's been heartbreaking as photos from some of our Napa producers have come in, barrels of wine overturned and racks of bottles tipped over. They just got through the drought and now this!

Aug. 25 2014 11:53 AM
Judith Widmann from Larchmont

Our sister and brother in law live in Napa. Many things fell off their shelves and out of the refrigerator, breaking all over the floor. In the garage, the refrigerator there fell forward, pinning the cars to the garage door and having the contents fall onto the garage floor. Fortunately, no building damage to their home. No power till this morning, but back on now.
My son in South San Francisco felt the jolt in the middle of the night. I don't know how they live there, but they do!

Aug. 25 2014 11:53 AM
Sari from New Jersey

I lived in the Bay Area for 25 years and experienced a few quakes, including the one in '89. Fortunately, I did not lose anyone or anything. You just forget about them after a while.

Aug. 25 2014 11:51 AM
Dale from Brooklyn, NY

I'm a California native, but I grew up Northern-Eastern California area, up near Paradise, CA. It's really rare to have earthquakes up in that part of the state. My brother and his family lives in Santa Clara, CA. He slept through it, but apparently his daughter felt something, but wasn't sure what it was until a friend asked if she had felt the earthquake. So a lot of people in the South Bay area couldn't feel much.

Aug. 25 2014 11:50 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

>Breathtaking, beautiful country
>perfect climate
>deal port location on the west coast (guaranteed prosperity)

Brian asks why wouldn't you just leave? Because anyone with a brain would move in after you left... Earthquakes are pretty rare...

Aug. 25 2014 11:50 AM
Nina from East Village

Brian! I have family in Norther CA who live with the threat of earthquakes.
We often trade speculation about whose situation is worse:
theirs, or mine, living here in NYC so close to the Indian Point nuclear power plant,
on another fault line in a city that is not earthquake ready . . .

Aug. 25 2014 11:47 AM

This from my best friend in Berkeley:

"Here in Berkeley we rocked and rolled with it for 10-15 seconds (!) but the house flexed and laughed it off like it was nothing! Good old wood frame house that's been here for 127 years!!"

Aug. 25 2014 11:47 AM
Ava

Oh, please, Brian. I love you and your show and your listeners, but really, you lived through Sandy and you worry about earthquakes?
Hurricanes are a much bigger risk.

Aug. 25 2014 11:45 AM
Ava from sausalito (aka shaushalito)

I live on a sailboat in Sausalito, so didn't feel a thing. Apparently, this part of the bay where my boat is berthed would be largely unaffected during an earthquake large enough to generate a tsunamai. (I checked prior to purchasing the boat.)
If I were still a landlubber, it would be a different story. I guess there is an upside to being forced out of the rental market onshore.

Aug. 25 2014 10:12 AM

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