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U.S. Geological Survey map of 6.0 earthquake that struck northern California on Sunday in Napa Valley, between San Francisco and Sacramento. (USGS)

Earthquake Rocks Northern California

Magnitude 6.0 quake rattles residents of Bay Area with largest tremor in more than twenty-five years

Common Dreams staff

A 6.0-magnitude earthquake struck northern California early on Sunday, shaking residents out of bed with the largest quake for the Bay Area in more than twenty-five years.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the quake struck Napa County just after 3 AM local time with its epicenter located between American Canyon in the south and the town of Napa in the north.

Though no serious injuries or large-scale destruction to highways or bridges immediately reported, but damage to smaller buildings—including homes, churches, and businesses—in communities across Napa, Sonoma, Marin, and San Francisco Counties were being documented in the early hours after the quake.

According to a local CBS affiliate:

At least 36 aftershocks were recorded following the earthquake, the largest quake to hit the Bay Area since the 6.9 magnitude quake hit Loma Prieta nearly 25 years ago. Initial reports had the earthquake measuring 6.1 magnitude.

Napa City Councilmember Peter Mott reports the library and the historic Chinese laundry building suffered significant damage, and bricks and glass are scattered across downtown sidewalks on Second and Third Streets.

At least two homes in Napa were on fire. Water mains in residential areas are broken, but it’s not clear how bad the damage from flooding is.

NBC News reported that the quake "caused houses to shake in the center of San Francisco and knocked out power to more than 50,000 people."

THE USGS that aftershocks should be expected and "the probability of a strong and possibly damaging aftershock IN THE NEXT 7 DAYS is approximately 54 PERCENT." Though likely less powerful than the intitial quake, the agency said there is a 5 to 10 percent chance that aftershocks could be as large or larger than the one this morning.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports:

There was a report of some buckling on an off-ramp from westbound Highway 37 to Highway 29 at Sonoma Boulevard, and power lines down in western Contra Costa County, but Bay Area bridges appeared to be fine, according to the California Highway Patrol.

There were widespread reports of power outages, gas leaks and flooding in the North Bay, with at least 15,000 Pacific Gas and Electric Co. customers without power in Vallejo, Napa, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa and Sonoma. Police reminded motorists to stop at darkened intersections.

Many people were jolted awake by the quake.

Erica Gregory, who was brewing coffee while working by herself at the 24-hour Shell gas station on Highway 29 in Vallejo, said things started to fly off the shelves when the quake hit.

"It was nerve-wracking," Gregory said. "You just have to stand there and take it."

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