An M6 strike-slip earthquake occurred in the northern San Francisco Bay area last night (3:20 am local time). It is reported as 6 km NW of American Canyon and between Napa and Vallejo. This is the biggest event in the Bay Area since the 1989 M6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake. Aftershocks are following and will continue. Not a lot of additional data and interpretation are yet available, but they will be soon! There might be some surface rupture, and there should be coherent ground cracking (could end up being a semantic point!). There will be a lot of landslides, and there seems to be structure damage in especially some of the older brick buildings in the region. It sounds like people have been injured from falling debris. I hope everyone will be ok. The Did You Feel It mapping shows that shaking was very strong to severe in the north Bay area and it was felt widely across the region.
The UC Berkeley Seismological Laboratory and the Southern California Earthquake Center Data Center (link) have nice maps and lists showing the location of the main shock and the aftershocks elongate along the rupture zone. There is some useful commentary about the faults and their recent activity at the bottom of the main Main USGS page on the event.
The earthquake occurred in the area of the West Napa Fault. The focal mechanism is consistent with the expected right lateral slip. I made the figure using the USGS Quaternary Faults data base and the focal mechanism from the USGS. The center of the focal mechanism is on the epicenter.
Here is a kmz of the hillshaded digital elevation model (Napa watershed gathered by National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping in 2003) at 2 m resolution of the area of the main shock (click to download the kmz):
Here is folder with georeferenced images.
I notice a Plate Boundary Observatory station not far from the southern end of the likely rupture zone (P261), but no updates yet for today to see a change in its position. There are also borehole strainmeters that apparently felt the squeeze.
Here are a few links:
- USGS Press release (8/25/2014)
- Main USGS page on the event
- IRIS Teachable Moment
- How earthquake affected sleep from Jawbone Up
- UC Berkeley Seismo lab Seismo blog
- EERI clearing house
- California Earthquake Clearinghouse event site
- Danny Stockli pointed out this recent publication and mapping on the West Napa Fault: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/research/external/reports/05HQAG0002.pdf