So today there was a minor 3.3 quake on the San Andreas near the epicenter of the 1906 quake. That sparked this odd headline from the San Francisco Chronicle:

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(http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/3-3-quake-hits-near-Mill-Valley-6434184.php)

Mill Valley? When I read the headline I was flummoxed, thinking that some strange new fault had burst forth; normally that area sits between the San Andreas and the Hayward, and it would be downright weird to have an epicenter there.

But the quake was hardly close to Mill Valley. In fact, as you can see, it was much closer to SF. Closer to Sausalito. Closer to Daly City. It’s as if the reporter looked at the USGS epicenter map and picked a nearby city at random.

We can do better in science journalism than this. I’m not even going to ask what the “National Geological Service” mentioned in this article is supposed to be (the private company in Colorado or the USGS?) But it might also be important to mention that since today’s quake occurred in nearly the same place as the 1906 epicenter, it’s a bit worrisome. Not that we need to hunker down tonight, but every quake is a foreshock to some future quake, and every quake is an aftershock to some past gigantic quake that reminds us what we face…

 

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