Magnitude 4.5 earthquake rattles Central Coast, Bay Area

The location of Tuesday's earthquake, as shown by the red dot on the map.
(Via United States Geological Survey)

The 4.5 magnitude earthquake struck Tuesday afternoon in Tres Pinos, 25 miles east of Monterey and 20 miles southeast of Salinas. Damage assessment was unknown.

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Santa Cruz County residents felt a jolt at 3:23 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon after a 4.5 magnitude earthquake struck Tres Pinos, in San Benito County about 25 miles east of Monterey and 20 miles southeast of Salinas. The earthquake lasted 5 to 10 seconds in the city of Santa Cruz, where residents could feel one to multiple rolling bumps. Shakes were felt as far north as San Francisco.

United States Geological Survey seismologist Jonathan Tytell told Lookout that the quake’s hypocenter — the best estimate of the quake’s true location — occurred 9.2 kilometers deep in the tectonic plate boundary. He said that is a fairly shallow earthquake, which is common in California due to the types of faults in the earth’s crust called strike-slip faults. Shallow earthquakes generally cause more damage than deeper quakes.

Damage assessment is unknown at this point, and USGS geologists have found themselves in the midst of a busy day.

“I haven’t spent much time on this one because I’m working on the Panama quake that just happened,” said Tytell. That 6.3 magnitude quake struck just 5 minutes before this California one.


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