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Low-Magnitude Quakes Strike Berkeley Area

Two minor earthquakes shook Berkeley yesterday morning, according to the US Geological Survey.

A 3.4 magnitude quake struck four miles east of Berkeley and two miles southwest of Orinda at 11:34 a.m., ten minutes after a 2.8 magnitude tremblor at roughly the same location, according to the US Geological Survey’s Web site.

“The first one was just a little tremor, the second was noticeably an earthquake,” said UC Berkeley senior Monica Green, who was working on the seventh floor of Eshleman Hall at the time of the quake.

No damage from the earthquake has been reported, according to the Berkeley Police Department.

Students and faculty on the seventh floor of Barrows Hall, which underwent seismic retrofitting in 2000, barely noticed the quake.

“It felt pretty minor, a slight rumbling,” said graduate student Rahsaan Maxwell. “I was talking to a student and the rumbling occurred and then we went back to work.”

There is a 62 percent chance a magnitude 6.7 or greater earthquake will strike the Bay Area before 2032, according to research by the US Geological Survey as well as other scientists.

Many who felt the tremors expressed concerns about possible future earthquakes.

“I hope this doesn’t portend the big one, the nine-richter scale (earthquake) that is going to destroy the whole area,” political science professor Jason Wittenberg said.

Michael Kay

Mayor Appoints Student to City Housing Body

A UC Berkeley student will become one of a few students serving on city commissions after being sworn in to Berkeley’s housing commission tonight.

Junior Nicholas Smith will join senior Jesse Arreguin as the only student commissioners on the city’s Housing Advisory Commission tonight at the South Berkeley Senior Center.

Mayor Tom Bates appointed Smith to the commission in February. Each city councilmember, including the mayor, can appoint new members to city commissions.

“He’s uniquely qualified,” Bates said. “He brings the student perspective, which is important and needed.”

During his time on the commission, Smith plans to work on the city’s soft story building ordinance, which focuses on buildings that could be unstable during an earthquake.

Smith said he will also focus on issues relating to affordable housing.

“I would like there to be a good stock of affordable housing, particularly for students of low income who have a hard time finding housing close to campus,” Smith said.

Emma Gutierrez

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