The U.S. Geological Survey says a computer at its Berkeley station erroneously concluded a a magnitude 5 earthquake occurred in Napa (above).

Richard Buckmaster, a geophysicist at the agency’s National Earthquake Reporting Center, says officials are trying to determine why the computer generated the “dubious or erroneous” alert Friday, according to an Associated Press report.

Such false alarms are, we are reassured to learn, rare in California.

Photo: Tracey Taylor.

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Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...