November 26th, 2002

caillebotte_man at his window

Apocalyptic California

Now that most of the trees which lose their leaves in fall are bare, I have a better view of the eastern sky. This morning, as it began to pale, I saw an unusual cloud formation. It was like a dark river flowing up from the southeast. As I watched, jagged streaks of deep red formed across it. Already eerie, it became even stranger as it began to glow. I suspect that a great deal of it consists of smoke from the forest fires now burning east of Sacramento. It is rather late in the year for fires, but the unusually dry and windy conditions caused several debris burns on logged-over land to go out of control. It makes for a spectacular (if somewhat disturbing) sunrise.

Also rather ominous, there has been another small earthquake near San Ramon, east of San Francisco. If you go to the U.S.G.S. map of recent earthquakes, the latest one may still be shown in red. (The icon changes color one hour after an earthquake.) You can also look at the list of recent earthquakes and see how much activity there has been around San Ramon in the last few days. Quite impressive. I don't know if something big is building up, or not. Sometimes swarms of small quakes are only that. Sometimes they are harbingers of a major seismic event. Keep an eye on the news.