6.0-Magnitude Quake Rocks Wine Country

Sleepers abruptly awakened in the predawn hours when a 6.1 magnitude earthquake rocked and rolled the earth under Napa, California at 3:20 am on August 24. California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. issued an emergency proclamation soon after the quake hit, citing major damage to infrastructure throughout Napa, Solano and Sonoma counties.

Photo by Matthew Keys via Flickr – Creative Commons

Photo by Matthew Keys via Flickr – Creative Commons

The earthquake hit 5 miles southwest of the world-renowned wine growing regions of Napa Valley. Clean-up is ongoing, especially for the region’s vintners:

Many of Napa’s historic buildings, some dating back to the 1800s, suffered damage from the quake.


Mobile homes were set ablaze after the earthquake caused a gas leak in Napa:

Photo by Matthew Keys via Flickr – Creative Commons

Photo by Matthew Keys via Flickr – Creative Commons

Some debate exists around which fault is, well, at fault.

The United States Geological Survey defines a fault as a break in the rocks that make up the Earth’s crust, allowing the rocks on either side to move. The San Andres fault in southern California is perhaps the most recognized. Experts say the West Napa Fault in the San Francisco Bay area is the likely culprit for the August 24 quake.


Earthquakes have long threatened people and property. A team of government and academic researchers are working on a detection system designed to sense the very first signs that an earthquake. This ShakeAlert system uses a network of more than 100 sensors in California that stand ready to report the telltale signals of a nascent quake. This system provided a 10-second alert before the Napa quake hit.

Japan, a nation hit hard by powerful earthquakes – including the March 11, 2011 quake that caused the tsunami that killed thousands and caused the meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi plant – has an elaborate, dense network of seismic sensors.

Credit: USGS

Credit: USGS

Our thoughts are with California as they recover from this damaging quake.

Be Prepared. Know Before™.

The WeatherBug – Earth Networks Team

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