A 6.1 Quake Shakes Up the Napa Wine Country

Author: Meera, August 24, 2014

Our neighbor (two houses down) called to say he wanted some of my Henny Penny Farmette honey and would be at the front door at 7:30 a.m.


I was out feeding the chickens, but after my husband gave me the message, I got a jar off the shelf and went to meet our neighbor. He asked me if I’d heard about the quake that had happened at 3:20 a.m., centered in American Canyon, about five miles southwest of Napa.


I hadn’t felt it, but his wife had. Napa is exactly 34 miles from our farmette and it was a fairly large quake at 6.1, according to seismologists. The 1989 Loma Prieta quake, by contrast, was a 7.0 quake on the San Andreas Fault, a major fault line.


The Loma Prieta Quake is the one I’ll never forget. At 5:04 p.m., it interrupted a Bay Area World Series game that my husband attended with a buddy. Candlestick Park went dark and San Francisco, because of  broken gas lines, erupted in flames. My husband couldn’t get back home until 4:00 in the morning.


According to Dan Vergano, writing for National Geographic, the Napa Valley quake likely was caused by a series of cracks beneath the earth “tied to the famed and feared San Andreas Fault.


Vergano went on to say that some early reports suggested that the quake may have been provoked by the Franklin Fault that has been dormant for 1.6 million years. See http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/08/1400824-earthquakes-usgs-napa-california-faults-science/


The news reports videos on local television stations showed cracks through vineyards and across Highway 121 as well as wine bottles strewn on the floor at wineries. See, https://www.yahoo.com/travel/this-is-what-it-looks-like-when-an-earthquake-hits-wine-95640002407.html


The Napa airport control tower lost its windows. The Gold Rush-era buildings downtown are badly damaged, some in spite of earthquake retrofitting.  The quake ran roughly 6.7 miles beneath Napa wine country (by contrast the Loma Prieta quake ran about 11 miles deep).


The cleanup is on; the community is pulling together as our Bay Area folks and first-responders always do in times of emergency or natural disaster.





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