Category Archives: San Francisco

California oil spill five times worse than predicted

Compliments of NBC


The nine-mile Santa Barbara coastline hit by an oil spill on Tuesday is even worse off than expected.


Officials now say about 105,000 gallons of crude oil have spilled into Refugio State Beach, up from five times the original predictions. It may take months before the beach is restored, U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Jennifer Williams said at a news conference.

The pipe was carrying about 2,000 barrels of oil an hour, according to Plains All American, the company who owns the pipeline.

The company says it “deeply regrets” the spill. The oil transportation company has been fined at least 10 times for oil spill violations in four other states between 2004 and 2007, according to reports. The Houston-based company has been deemed the “worst violators” by the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration.

Investigators are uncertain as to what caused the devastating spill, but rescuers are working around the clock to get a handle on the environmental disaster. So far, carcasses of petroleum-soaked pelicans have been found, along with live oil-covered pelicans, sea lions, and elephant seals.

The massive oil spill comes as California is battling another major environmental problem: A historic draught has devastated farms in the state and led to unprecedented restrictions on water usage.

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Earthquake Swarm, Including Magnitude 3.6, Shakes East Bay Cities

Compliments of CBS

A string of moderate earthquakes has rattled the East Bay Sunday, shaking buildings. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

The U.S. Geological Survey says an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 4.0 hit at 2:13 p.m. Sunday.  That quake was later downgraded to a 3.6 by the USGS. It was centered a mile south of Concord, along the Concord fault.

A series of smaller quakes shook the area in the moments before and after the larger one.  A magnitude 2.5 earthquake hit at 2:01 p.m., followed by the 3.6 at 2:13, and a 2.7 magnitude quake at 2:14 p.m.  A magnitude 2.4 shook the area again at 2:28 p.m.  A magnitude 1.6 hit at 2:56 p.m.

The earthquakes struck at a depth of 8 to 9 miles.  Deeper quakes are less noticeable while a shallow quake–in the 0 to 40 mile depth range–can feel much stronger than their actual reported magnitude. Quakes just below the earth’s surface, in the 0 to 10 miles range, can cause even more damage at lower magnitudes.

“A four’s just sort of a nice little warning that you’re dealing with something that has the potential to be bigger,” USGS Seismologist Dr. David Schwartz said.

Sunday’s quakes may have ruptured a water line four miles away in Walnut Creek that was reported leaking about an hour after the shaking stopped.

Thousands of Bay Area residents reported feeling the shaking on the USGS Did You Feel It site, and on social media sites like Twitter.

Irish Girl tweeted, “Nothing like an Earthquake to shake up a lazy Sunday!”


Yo~ongie tweeted, “@BamBam1A did you feel the earthquake? Welcome to the state of Earthquakes.”


In Southern California, a magnitude of 3.9 hit the Los Angeles area at 4:07 a.m. Sunday. That quake was centered a mile northwest of the View Park-Windsor Hills neighborhood, just north of the cities of Inglewood and Culver City.  A magnitude-3.5 earthquake hit that same area on April 12.

The Los Angeles quake struck while many residents were sleeping, and the timing of the Bay Area quakes Sunday was not lost on social media users.

Zachary Burkett tweeted, “It was nice of the northern California earthquake to show up in the mid afternoon instead of the stupid 4 AM jolt down here this morning.”