Napa Valley Earthquake Is the Strongest to Hit the Bay Area Since 1989

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Aug. 24 2014 12:08 PM

Napa Valley Earthquake Is the Strongest to Hit the Bay Area Since 1989

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Bricks from a damaged building sit on a car following a reported 6.0 earthquake in Napa.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A 6.0-magnitude Earthquake struck a wide section of California’s Bay Area early Sunday as residents were startled awake by the strongest quake to hit the region since the 1989 Loma Prieta temblor that clocked in at 6.9. Lots of damage was reported to buildings and at least 87 people were injured, including three who were seriously hurt, according to the Los Angeles Times. As many as 738,000 felt the quake Sunday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, which specifies that some 15,000 people “experienced severe shaking” while 106,000 people “felt very strong shaking,” reports CNN.

One family caught the violent shaking on video:

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Most of those who went to the hospital were treated for minor injuries, including cuts, bumps, and bruises, and were quickly released, reports the Associated Press. There were reports of fires breaking out, particularly in mobile homes, as gas pipelines burst across the region, as did water lines.

Most of the damage seemed to be centered on the wine-producing region of Napa, notes Reuters. It’s little wonder then that photos of damaged winery shelves and broken wine bottles quickly surfaced on social media. “I've got a lot of broken wine, being here in Napa,” Emily Massimi told CNN. “We tend to collect wine, so I have wine all over my kitchen, and glass, and pictures off the wall and books off of bookshelves.” Residents streamed into the powerless, picturesque downtown area of Napa Sunday to see the damage. “The historic Napa Valley Courthouse has also lost a portion of its roof and police have begun to cordon off sections of the downtown to keep crowds away from the debris,” reports USA Today.

The quake hit at 3:20 a.m. Pacific time near American Canyon, located about six miles southwest of Napa. At least 20 aftershocks were felt in the region, including one that was a magnitude 3.6, notes NBC News. “It just kept rumbling and rumbling,” one American Canyon resident said. “And it kept getting stronger and stronger. This was the strongest earthquake I ever felt.” The USGS estimates that some 30 to 70 small aftershocks will hit the region over the next few days.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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