People stand on the street in Washington DC after Aug. 23 earthquake. Photo: Bloomberg News
People stand on the street in Washington DC after Aug. 23 earthquake. Photo: Bloomberg News

Maybe it was payback for all those chuckles West Coasters delivered to the East Coast on Tuesday, after a 5.8 magnitude earthquake in Virginia scared the beejezus out of people.

As thousands poured from their homes and New York’s skyscrapers, more than 40,000 people tweeted the news. The comments from the West Coast were not, well, shall we say, necessarily sympathetic.

“Hey east coasters: welcome to our world and what we live with everyday in California. Stay safe,” tweeted Sal Castaneda, a reporter at KTVU.

“At a waiting room and CNN is on going on and on about the east coast earthquake. People here are laughing,” someone else tweeted.

The superior attitude annoyed the snarky website Gawker, which posted a story with the headline “Californians are Being Insufferable About this Earthquake.”

“Californians can’t get enough of snickering at how quaintly hysterical we East Coasters became after our earthquake today,” wrote Gawker.

Well maybe the gods were listening because a pair of earthquakes rattled the Bay Area Tuesday night.  At 11:36 pm a 3.6 magnitude quake centered three miles northeast of San Leandro shook the East Bay, followed by a 2.3 magnitude quake in the same area at 11:41 pm, according to the US Geological Survey.

The two quakes were followed early Wednesday morning by another significant tremor in northern California when a magnitude-4.4 quake struck at 4:59 a.m. about nine miles southeast of Mammoth Lakes.

Tracey Taylor

Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...

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  1. Jane Tierney’s right about the fact that midwest & east coast building codes don’t contemplate seismic hazard. Every 20 years or so there’s a 4.0 earthquake in the midwest & chimneys topple hundreds of miles away. I think it’s amazing how little damage the 5.8 Virginia earthquake caused — considering that it was felt in Toronto and Boston.

  2. At first I thought the same, what’s all the fuss about. My relatives were tweeting there wasn’t significant damage, some merchandise knocked off store shelves. But then, as the article says, I began to think about it. They’re not very well prepared there. There are a predominence of brick structures and facades there that we in California deem typically unsafe. They don’t even think about bolting to their foundations, securing bridge and highway structures, etc. So if a big tremor hit there, they’d almost be defenseless. They don’t think about hanging mirrors in bedrooms, placing tall bookcases in hallways that may block exits if they fall. All of that contributes to potentially dangerous conditions. We have learned to live with earthquakes. Once every 100 or more years for the East Coast is not terrible, but conditions with population and urban environments now are much different than a hundred years ago, so the potential for problems is much greater.