LARGEST QUAKES so far today -
5.4 SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS REGION
6.1 SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA, CALIF.
5.0 BONIN ISLANDS, JAPAN REGION
5.1 IRAN-IRAQ BORDER REGION
Yesterday, 8/23/14 -
6.4 VALPARAISO, CHILE
5.4 IRAN-IRAQ BORDER REGION
5.6 TARAPACA, CHILE
5.3 IRAN-IRAQ BORDER REGION
5.5 EASTERN NEW GUINEA REG., P.N.G.
5.0 IRAN-IRAQ BORDER REGION
5.0 AEGEAN SEA
5.0 OFFSHORE EL SALVADOR
The LARGEST EARTHQUAKE IN 25 YEARS to hit the San Francisco Bay Area sent scores of people to hospitals, ignited fires, damaged multiple historic buildings and knocked out power to tens of thousands in California's wine country on Sunday.
The 6.0-magnitude earthquake that struck at 3:20 a.m. about 6 miles from the city of Napa ruptured water mains and gas lines, left two adults and a child critically injured, upended bottles and casks at some of Napa Valley's famed wineries and sent residents running out of their homes in the darkness.
Dazed residents too fearful of aftershocks to go back to bed wandered at dawn through Napa's historic downtown, where the quake had shorn a 10-foot chunk of bricks and concrete from the corner of an old county courthouse. Bolder-sized pieces of rubble littered the lawn and street in front of the building and the hole left behind allowed a view of the offices inside.
Napa Fire Department Operations Chief Said the city has exhausted its own resources trying to extinguish six fires, some in places with broken water mains; transporting injured residents; searching homes for anyone who might be trapped; and answering calls about gas leaks and downed power lines. Two of the fires happened at mobile home parks, including one where four homes were destroyed and two others damaged.
The earthquake sent at least 87 people to Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa, where officials set up a triage tent to handle the influx. Most patients had cuts, bumps, bruises. The child in critical condition was struck by part of a fireplace and had to be airlifted to a specialty hospital for a neurological evaluation.
The earthquake is the largest to shake the Bay Area since the 6.9-magnitude Loma Prieta quake in 1989. That temblor struck the area on Oct. 17, 1989, during a World Series game between the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics, collapsing part of the Bay Bridge roadway and killing more than 60 people, most when an Oakland freeway fell.
Sunday's quake was felt widely throughout the region. People reported feeling it more than 200 miles south of Napa and as far east as the Nevada border. Amtrak suspended its train service through the Bay Area so tracks could be inspected.
In Napa, at least three historic buildings were damaged, including the county courthouse, and at least two downtown commercial buildings have been severely damaged. A Red Cross evacuation center was set up at a high school, and crews were assessing damage to homes, bridges and roadways. "There's collapses, fires. That's the worst shaking I've ever been in."
The shaking emptied cabinets in homes and store shelves, set off car alarms and had residents of neighboring Sonoma County running out of their houses and talking about damage inside their homes. Close to 30,000 lost power right after the quake hit, but the number was down just under 19,000, most of them in Napa. Crews are working to make repairs, but it's unclear when electricity would be restored.
The depth of the earthquake was just less than 7 miles, and numerous small aftershocks have occurred. "A quake of that size in a populated area is of course widely felt throughout that region."
Cracks and damage to pavement closed the westbound Interstate 80 connector to westbound State Route 37 in Vallejo and westbound State Route 37 at the Sonoma off ramp. There haven't been reports of injuries or people stranded in their cars, but there are numerous flat tires from motorists driving over damaged roads.
Iceland volcano - Eruption under ice-cap sparks red alert. The Icelandic Met Office warned that a small eruption had taken place under the Dyngjujokull ice cap. Seismic activity is continuing at the Bardarbunga volcano, about 30km away.
Airspace over the site has been closed, but all Icelandic airports currently remain open. A Europe-wide alert has also been upgraded. Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupted in 2010, producing ash that severely disrupted air travel.
The red alert is the highest warning on the country's five-point scale. "The eruption is considered a minor event at this point. Because of pressure from the glacier cap, it is uncertain whether the eruption will stay sub-glacial or not."
Authorities have previously warned that any eruption could result in flooding north of the glacier. On Wednesday, authorities evacuated several hundred people from the area over fears of an eruption. The region, located more than 300km (190 miles) from the capital Reykjavik, has no permanent residents but sits within a national park popular with tourists. The move came after geologists reported that about 300 earthquakes had been detected in the area since midnight on Tuesday.
UPDATE - Iceland has lowered the warning level to aviation from the Bardarbunga volcano from "red" to "orange", its second-highest level. However, the Icelandic Met Office said there were "no indications that [seismic] activity is slowing down" and added "an eruption cannot be excluded".
TROPICAL STORMS -
* In the Atlantic Ocean -
Tropical storm Cristobal moving northward. Heavy rainfall affecting the Turks and Caicos and the southeastern Bahamas. Located about 155 mi (250 km) ENE of Long Island. Very little threat to the U.S.
* In the Eastern Pacific -
- Tropical storm Karina weakening over the open Pacific, about 1370 mi (2205 km) W of the southern tip of Baja California.
- Marie now a category 5 hurricane. Swells from Marie expected to cause dangerous beach conditions in Southern California by Tuesday. Located about 500 mi (805 km) SSW of the southern tip of Baja California.