Minor earthquake hits California, driving Twitter into frenzy

A 3.9-magnitude tremor has struck the San Francisco Bay Area in California, setting off a Twitterstorm as residents rushed to social media to report the relatively minor ripple that appeared to cause no damage.

The quake shook California’s Alameda County on Monday evening. According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the epicenter was located some 3.4 km (2.1 mi) north of San Lorenzo, a community in the East Bay with a population of about 26,000 people.

Although minor, the sudden tremor sent Twitter into overdrive, with #earthquake shooting up to the top of regional Twitter trends.

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The San Andreas fault. © Francois Gohier/ Global Look Press
Unexplained rock-melting forces buried deep underground cause powerful quakes along infamous San Andreas fault

The quake was initially reported as a 4.2-magnitude one, shortly before being downgraded to a 3.9-magnitude jolt. Many netizens rushed to share their firsthand encounters with the phenomenon.

“Perfectly jiggly. Good buildup. Enough shake for excitement, not enough for fear. Light audible rumble. Exquisite work,” one commenter tweeted.

Another apparent Bay Area resident posted a video of the shaking, which appeared to have lasted several seconds.

The quake caused a brief delay in San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit service. The company promised to resume regular traffic as soon as additional checks and inspections are carried out.

While somewhat uneventful, the tremor caused much commotion on Twitter, with memes pouring in showing panicked Californians fleeing the quake.

Others, however, were less than excited, pleading with those enthralled by the occasion to “just chill.”

“Earthquake lasts 6-8 seconds, #earthquake Twitter lasts ~20 minutes. Why is it so thrilling and needed to see everyone else going ‘earthquake!’?” one commenter asked.

While some may argue that a perceived threat from the tremor was overhyped, there are growing concerns about at least one potentially devastating major quake rattling the San Francisco Bay region before 2043. According to a USGS fact sheet first published in 2014, there is a 72% probability that one or more 6.7-magnitude quakes strike the area within the next 20 years.

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© Robert Galbraith
‘Deadliest yet’: San Francisco-area quake faults found to be connected, massive destruction looms

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