Read about the astonishing earthquake that rattled San Francisco Airport. Discover the unique seismic engineering behind it and the surprising aftermath. Don’t miss this seismic story.
Beneath the bustling hub of San Francisco International Airport, an unusual event unfolded on a Friday evening: a magnitude-3.9 earthquake made its presence known, causing the ground to tremble throughout most of the Bay Area.
This seismic occurrence, as reported by the United States Geological Survey, occurred around 6:30 p.m. local time and had its epicenter over 8 miles beneath the surface of San Mateo County.
While quakes of this magnitude are not unusual in the seismic landscape of California, they are classified as minor and typically result in minimal to no damage. In fact, this event didn’t trigger the usual alerts that precede earthquakes with a magnitude of 4.5 or higher, and no immediate damage was reported by local authorities.
However, for travelers passing through the airport and commuters relying on the Bay Area Rapid Transit, the earthquake did have some noticeable effects. Safety inspections were promptly initiated, leading to delays in both air and rail travel.
The San Francisco International Airport, strategically located just three miles from the notorious San Andreas Fault, has been engineered with state-of-the-art seismic designs. This includes the 220-foot-tall control tower, which was built to meet stringent FAA criteria for withstanding severe earthquakes.
The Maffei Structural Engineering group spearheaded this pioneering design, ensuring that the control tower could withstand even the most violent tremors. In California, where thousands of earthquakes occur annually, only a handful surpass a magnitude of 5.5 and result in significant damage, showcasing the importance of earthquake-resistant construction in this earthquake-prone region.