The earthquake struck near Hollister at 3:23 p.m., and it was felt inside the KRON4 newsroom in San Francisco to as far south as Santa Cruz. It struck nearly five miles below the surface, according to data from USGS. There have been no reports of damages or injuries so far, according to the San Francisco Fire Department.
The quake took place near the Calaveras Fault Zone, and the California Geological Survey says that aftershocks “can be expected.” VTA light rail service will be delayed for five to seven minutes for post-earthquake inspection, according to a tweet from the VTA.
Valley Water, the water treatment plant that provides water in Santa Clara County, said staff inspections of their properties are underway, but no damages have been found yet.
While not as well known as the San Andreas and Hayward faults, Dr. Annemarie Baltay from the USGS told KPIX in a report last year that the Calaveras system is very seismically active.
“Numerous moderate earthquakes have happened in the area including the 6.2 magnitude Morgan Hill earthquake in 1984,” she said.
There are no immediate reports of damage or injuries, but the shaking was enough to trigger a flurry of comments on social media.
Gayle Cahill felt it rumble in her San Francisco neighborhood.
“Noticeable jolt in Eureka Valley, SF,” she posted.
Stephanie Wing was in the Santa Cruz Mountain foothills.
“Felt it here in Redwood Estates, shook my chair and then a jolt,” she posted.
Adana City Hospital was built to record both ground shaking and the building’s response. Thanks to its seismic isolation system, the building saw a 75% reduction in shaking, according to the company that designed the isolation system, compared with neighboring structures. This system allowed the building to stay up and running after the earthquake.
Engineers aren’t surprised that the hospitals with seismic isolation systems survived with minimal damage, but through my work as a civil engineer, I’ve been hearing people in Turkey and abroad ask why more buildings don’t use these smarter engineering technologies.
A year after the 1999 İzmit earthquake in Turkey killed over 17,000 people, I moved to Istanbul for a bachelor’s in civil engineering. I moved to the U.S. for my graduate studies in 2005, and since then, I have been working on advanced technologies and materials that can ensure rapid recovery and reoccupation of buildings after a strong earthquake.
Although we’ve seen the effectiveness of seismic protection technologies during past major earthquakes, these technologies have been installed in only a tiny fraction of the places where they could potentially be useful.
Earthquake-resilient building technology
Engineers can control how structures respond to earthquakes in several ways.
Traditional approaches rely on having certain components of the building, like columns or beams, absorb the earthquake’s energy. However, this method can lead to damage accumulating in these structural features that may render the building uninhabitable.
Earthquake-resilient systems such as seismic isolation devices and seismic dampers minimize the seismic energy that goes into these columns or beams by either absorbing it or diverting it. As a result, the building experiences less motion and damage and is more likely to remain functional after an earthquake.
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