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The San Joaquin Valley and the mountains surrounding the valley are cut by many faults, several of which are associated with recent earthquakes. Movement along these faults has resulted in many, many earthquakes in California over the years, with the larger historic earthquakes being shown in the map below.
The main earthquakes to hit the San Joaquin Valley in historic times are the Tejon Earthquake in 1857 on the San Andreas Fault and the Bakersfield Earthquake in 1952 on the White Wolf Fault.
The image on the right shows the San Andreas where it cuts across the east side of the Carrizzo Plain, which is very close to the west margin of the San Joaquin Valley. The arches and depocenters of the San Joaquin Valley (shown on the map above) are subsurface regional features that have no surface expression. What happened is that oil was generated in the depocenters (in this case the Tejon and Buttonwillow), and after being expelled from the source rocks the oil migrated into oil fields on the Bakersfield Arch. The earth's crust is divided into giant plates that move across the surface of the earth to create the continents and ocean basins. Dazed residents who had run out of their homes in the dark and were too fearful of aftershocks to go back to bed wandered through Napa's historic downtown, where boulder-sized chunks of rubble and broken glass littered the streets. College student Eduardo Rivera said the home he shares with six relatives shook so violently that he kept getting knocked back into his bed as he tried to flee.
The temblor struck about six miles south of Napa and lasted 10 to 20 seconds, according to the United States Geological Survey. The earthquake sent at least 120 people to Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa, where officials set up a triage tent to handle the influx. The teen was hit by flying debris from a collapsed fireplace and had to be airlifted to the University of California Davis hospital for a neurological evaluation. Napa Fire Department Operations Chief John Callanan said the city had exhausted its own resources trying to extinguish at least six fires after 60 water mains ruptured, as well as transporting injured residents, searching homes and collapsed carports for anyone trapped and responding to 100 reports of leaking gas.
Two of the fires happened at mobile home parks, including the one where four homes were destroyed and two others damaged, Callanan said. Nola Rawlins, 83, was one of the Napa Valley Mobile Home Park residents left homeless by the fire.
While inspecting the shattered glass at her husband's storefront office in downtown Napa, Chris Malloy described calling for her two children in the dark as the quake rumbled under the family's home, tossing heavy pieces of furniture for several feet.
Sunday's quake was felt widely throughout the region, with people reporting its effects more than 200 miles south of Napa and as far east as the Nevada border.
Vintner Richard Ward of Saintsbury Winery south of Napa watched Sunday afternoon as workers righted toppled barrels and rescued a 500-pound grape de-stemmer that the quake had thrown to the ground. The Third Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast, or UCERF3, improves upon previous models by incorporating the latest data on the statea€™s complex system of active geological faults, as well as new methods for translating these data into earthquake likelihoods.

The study confirms many previous findings, sheds new light on how the future earthquakes will likely be distributed across the state and estimates how big those earthquakes might be. Compared to the previous assessment issued in 2008, UCERF2, the estimated rate of earthquakes around magnitude 6.7, the size of the destructive 1994 Northridge earthquake, has gone down by about 30 percent. Two kinds of scientific models are used to inform decisions of how to safeguard against earthquake losses: an Earthquake Rupture Forecast, which indicates where and when the Earth might slip along the statea€™s many faults, and a Ground Motion Prediction model, which estimates the ground shaking given one of the fault ruptures.
The USGS partner organizations that contributed to this product include the Southern California Earthquake Center, the California Geological Survey and the California Earthquake Authority. We know that southern California is subject to frequent -- and sometimes very destructive -- earthquakes. Larger imageThe Composite Forecast -- UCERF The final forecast results from evaluating and integrating several types of scientific data. Expected Shaking This map builds on the map of likely earthquakes above to show how those earthquakes will shake the region. A popular literary device is a fault that opens during an earthquake to swallow up an annoying character.
Multidisciplinary groups of scientists and engineers, each known as a "Working Group on California Earthquake Probabilities (WGCEP)" have developed earthquake forecasts since 1988. The map below shows some of the larger faults in southern California, the largest one, or course, being the famous San Andreas Fault. We also have a list of some of the more important Califoria earthquakes that you can check out.
The Tejon earthquake was close in size to, and some believe larger than, the Great San Francisco earthquake of 1906, whereas the Bakersfield earthquake was the third largest quake in California after the Tejon and San Francisco events.
By contrast, an arch develops where subsidence is minimal and results in development of a basement high, often fault-bounded, as depocenters drop down on either side of the high. Thus, the Bakersfield Arch, and the Stockton Arch to the north are important features in the petroleum geology of the Valley. Tectonics refers in part to the forces responsible for moving these plates, but it also refers to the strain that results when plates collide and slide past each other. Dozens of homes and buildings across the Napa Valley were left unsafe to occupy, including an old county courthouse, where a 10-foot wide hole opened a view of the offices inside. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for southern Napa County, directing state agencies to respond with equipment and personnel.
It was the largest to shake the San Francisco Bay Area since the magnitude-6.9 Loma Prieta quake struck in 1989, collapsing part of the Bay Bridge roadway and killing more than 60 people, most when an Oakland freeway collapsed. A ruptured water main there delayed efforts to fight the blaze until pumper trucks could be brought in, he said.

No one was injured in the blaze, but Rawlins, 83, said she lost all her jewelry, papers and other belongings. Geological Survey and partners revises scientific estimates for the chances of having large earthquakes over the next several decades. The UCERF3 model is of the first kind, and is the latest earthquake-rupture forecast for California. This map shows the likelihood of having a nearby earthquake rupture (within 3 or 4 miles) for all areas of California. The fault with the highest probability of such earthquakes is the southern San Andreas -- 59% in the next 30 years.
As such, tectonics represents the driving forces responsible for creating folds and faults, as well the arches and depocenters that characterize the San Joaquin Valley. President Barack Obama was briefed on the earthquake, the White House said, and federal officials were in touch with state and local emergency responders.
Twelve people were admitted, including an adult and a 13-year-old boy in critical condition.
Mike Thompson, who represents Napa, said federal and state officials had conducted an aerial survey of the area, but wouldn't have a cost estimate for the damage until they can get on the ground and into buildings. It was developed and reviewed by dozens of leading scientific experts from the fields of seismology, geology, geodesy, paleoseismology, earthquake physics and earthquake engineering.
But scientists cannot yet make precise predictions of their date, time, and place, so earthquake forecasts are in the form of probabilities that quakes of certain sizes will occur over longer periods of time. Areas along major faults (numbered) stand out as having the highest probabilities for earthquake rupture.
For powerful quakes of magnitude 7.5 or greater, there is a 37% chance that one or more will occur in the next 30 years in Southern California.
For example, one can discern a NE-SW trending concentration of oil fields on the map below, just to the north and west of Bakersfield. He said while Napa suffered the worst of it, there also was significant damage about 17 miles south on Mare Island in Vallejo, a former naval shipyard where a museum and historic homes were declared uninhabitable. Smaller earthquakes will only cause shaking locally, while larger earthquakes may cause strong shaking throughout southern California.

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