Students, faculty and staff at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) had an unpleasant surprise on Oct. 15, as the campus and surrounding communities were rocked by a magnitude 4.7 earthquake. Its epicenter was about 16 miles from Hollister, according to the United States Geological Survey.
Although the tremor was minor compared to what was felt closer to the epicenter, it still rattled classrooms, living spaces and the nerves of many students. The quake lasted only a couple seconds, and no injuries or damage were reported on CSUMB’s campus.
While quakes are certainly not uncommon in California, they can still be pretty unsettling, especially when they are of more significant magnitude. For years, scientists have talked about the “Big One” – a significant and potentially destructive seismic event that will inevitably occur along the San Andreas fault line at some point in time. As to when this seismic event will happen, no one can truly know for sure.
There have been a number of large earthquakes in California this year, in both the northern and southern regions of the state. In July, a magnitude 6.4 preceded a magnitude 7.1 quake in the Ridgecrest area of southeastern California, causing significant damage to infrastructure in the region and rattling cities as far away as Anaheim and Los Angeles proper. The night before the Oct. 15 quake, a magnitude 4.7 earthquake struck the East Bay Area and was felt as far south as Santa Cruz and as far west as Marin County north of San Francisco.
For students who come from southern California, the recent earthquake was a jarring reminder of the frightening larger quakes over the summer. Second-year student Eric Holst, who was home for the summer in Anaheim during the Ridgecrest earthquakes, was especially surprised.
“I didn’t expect the quakes to happen here, considering most happen in the Bay Area or SoCal,” he said.
For others at CSUMB, it was their first experience with a seismic event. Exchange student Jonas Haupt, who is from Germany, didn’t even know he was experiencing an earthquake until after it was over.
“I actually thought it was just our neighbors going nuts, I didn’t realize it was an earthquake,” Haupt explained.