4.5-magnitude earthquake rocks San Francisco Bay Area

A 4.5-magnitude earthquake shook the San Francisco Bay Area on Thursday. Photo courtesy of USGS

Jan. 4 (UPI) — A magnitude-4.5 earthquake along the Oakland-Berkeley border jolted the San Francisco Bay Area early Thursday morning.

The epicenter of the quake was located around the Hayward fault, an area capable of producing earthquakes stronger than magnitude 7.

The quake was felt for five to ten seconds around 2:40 a.m. and several jolts were felt near the San Francisco International Airport. Shaking was felt as far as San Francisco, Marin County, Sonoma County and Silicon Valley.

Although a magnitude 4.5 quake isn’t expected to cause a lot of damage, “there’s always a possibility of some minor damage to older structures in the area,” Robert Sanders, a U.S. Geological Survey seismologist, told the Los Angeles Times.

Aftershocks, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, “follow the largest shock of an earthquake sequence,” and happen “within 1-2 rupture lengths distance from the mainshock.” That distance could place aftershocks anywhere within the Bay Area, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

However, the aftershocks are “always smaller than the mainshock” and would likely not exceed a magnitude of 4.5.

Jack Boatwright, a geophysicist with the USGS Earthquake Science Center in Menlo Park, said the shaking Thursday morning “seemed a little weak, about half as strong as what you would expect.”

The San Francisco Department of Emergency Management reported on Twitter that there were no reports of damage or injury so far and there was no threat of a tsunami.

Meanwhile, since New Years Day, Washington’s Mount St. Helens has experienced 40 earthquakes. Tremors there are continuing every hour.

The most powerful quake was a magnitude 3.9 that was felt in Portland. There were no reported injuries or damage.

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