SAN JOSE, Calif. - This week’s earthquakes have some people in the Bay Area understandably feeling uneasy. A seismologist with the USGS said the earthquakes in San Benito County and Contra Costa are not connected.
Tuesday’s quake registered at 4.7 north of San Juan Bautista on the San Andreas fault. Monday night’s quake registered at 4.5 north of Walnut Creek between the Concord and Calaveras faults.
“Earthquakes occur somewhat randomly,” said Annemarie Baltay, a seismologist with the USGS. “It’s just a statistical chance that occurred within 14 hours of each other.”
Baltay said there’s a less than two percent chance the earthquakes could lead to a bigger quake. She’s focused on ShakeAlert. It’s an early warning system that gives seconds notice of when an earthquake has begun.
“If you are in bed, we recommend you pull a pillow over your face
so that you don't get cut on your face,” said Baltay.
Seismologists forecast a big earthquake by 2043. Baltay said there’s a 72 percent chance of a 6.7 magnitude or greater earthquake likely rupturing the Hayward fault.
“This afternoon's was a gentle roll compared to last night’s which was compared to more of a jerk,” said Frances Herbert who felt both earthquakes. She’s actually grateful for the small quakes.
“Hopefully they relieve some pressure so we don’t have the bigger one happen to us,” said Herbert.
“If everything is in rubble and the first responders can't get to us, we need to be self-sufficient,” said Patty Eaton of the Santa Clara Office of Emergency Management.
County officials recommend an emergency go-bag with important documents and an emergency kit with a tool to turn off your gas, a mini survival kit and a crank radio.
“It was a bit traumatic for me and my mother couldn't get to me because the streets were buckled,” said Herbert.
For Herbert, she was six years old when Loma Prieta happened. She realizes she's not as prepared as she’d like to be.
“We need to get it together and get that out-of-state contact arranged and our bags packed,” said Herbert.
Baltay said the beta version of the ShakeAlert system performed well as it was designed. For both earthquakes, an alert was issued to beta users five seconds after the quake.