As you know, some of our med school batch friends too live in and around the Bay Area. Rajan (Patas) Ratnesar lives on the hills in Castro Valley. I visited him there in 2011 and met Nadarajah there as well. Nada himself lives in Hayward. I have also been to Desmond Gunatilaka's home in San Jose. Vishweshwara is further to the south in Fresno which is some distance away from Napa. No sooner I heard the news, I sent out an e-mail to those closest to the disaster and I immediately heard back from Patas, Nada and Desmond who all said they were not affected.
By now, most of you would have read about it in the media. Therefore, other than a few details about its location and history of California earthquakes, I will not elaborate on the quake itself. I am quite familiar with the area because I myself lived in the Bay Area for two years when I was a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley where I did my MPH in 1974/75.
The infamous San Andreas Fault which stretches some 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) from southern California to north of San Francisco is reputed for causing problems every 150 years. That makes northern California quite famous for quakes that strike along this fault. The disastrous San Francisco earthquake of 1906 that almost destroyed the entire city of San Francisco took place along it. The so-called "Loma Prieta" earthquake that hit northern California in 1989 was centered 10 miles (16 km) northeast of Santa Cruz on a section of the San Andreas Fault System and was named after the nearby Loma Prieta peak in the Santa Cruz Mountains. However, the most recent quake that struck about 6 miles southwest of Napa, wasn't on that line.