The San Francisco Bay Area Portal
The San Francisco Bay Area (referred to locally as the Bay Area) is a populous region surrounding the San Francisco and San Pablo estuaries in Northern California. The region encompasses the major cities and metropolitan areas of San Jose, San Francisco, and Oakland, along with smaller urban and rural areas. The Bay Area's nine counties are Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma. Home to approximately 7.68 million people, the nine-county Bay Area contains many cities, towns, airports, and associated regional, state, and national parks, connected by a network of roads, highways, railroads, bridges, tunnels, and commuter rail. The combined statistical area of the region is the second-largest in California (after the Greater Los Angeles area), the fifth-largest in the United States, and the 43rd-largest urban area in the world with 8.80 million people.
The Bay Area has the second-most Fortune 500
companies in the United States, after the New York metropolitan area
, and is known for its natural beauty, liberal
politics, entrepreneurship, and diversity
. The area ranks second in highest density of college graduates, after the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area
and performs above the state median household income in the 2010 census; it includes the five highest California counties by per capita income
and two of the top 25 wealthiest counties in the United States
. Based on a 2013 population report from the California Department of Finance
, the Bay Area is the only region in California where the rate of people migrating in from other areas in the United States is greater than the rate of those leaving the region, led by Alameda and Contra Costa counties. (more...)
The San Andreas Fault
is a continental transform fault
that extends roughly 810 miles (1,300 km) through California
in the United States
. It forms the tectonic
boundary between the Pacific Plate
and the North American Plate
, and its motion is right-lateral strike-slip
(horizontal). The fault divides into three segments, each with different characteristics, and a different degree of earthquake risk. Although the most significant (Southern) segment only dates back about 5 million years, the oldest sections were formed by the subduction of a spreading ridge 30 million years ago.
The fault was first identified in 1895 by Professor of geology Andrew Lawson from UC Berkeley who discovered the northern zone. It is named after a small lake which was formed in a valley between the two plates. Following the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, Lawson concluded that the fault extended all the way into southern California. In 1953, geologist Thomas Dibblee astounded the scientific establishment with his conclusion that hundreds of miles of lateral movement could occur along the San Andreas Fault.
A project called the San Andreas Fault Observatory at Depth (SAFOD) is drilling into the fault to improve prediction and recording of future quakes. (more...)
Robert Cyril Stebbins (March 31, 1915 - September 23, 2013) was an American herpetologist and illustrator known for his field guides and popular books as well as his studies of reptiles and amphibians. His Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians, first published in 1966, is still considered the definitive reference of its kind, owing to both the quality of the illustrations and the comprehensiveness of the text. A professor of zoology at the University of California, Berkeley, for over 30 years, he was the first curator of herpetology at the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, a 1949 Guggenheim fellow, and author of over 70 scientific articles. His discovery of the ring species phenomenon in Ensatina salamanders is now a textbook example of speciation, and he performed extensive research on the parietal eye of reptiles. He produced nature films, supported science education in primary grades, and organized conservation efforts that aided in the passing of the 1994 California Desert Protection Act. After retirement he continued to paint, collect field notes, and write books. Stebbins is commemorated in the scientific names of three species: Batrachoseps stebbinsi, the Tehachapi slender salamander; Anniella stebbinsi, a legless lizard; and Ambystoma tigrinum stebbinsi, the endangered Sonora tiger salamander. (more...)
Recently in the Bay Area
- A rare mountain lion spotted in San Francisco is tranquilized and released into the wild, far south of the city 
- The wealthiest 1% now owns more than 50% of the world's wealth, with younger people suffering some of the worst inequality. Per the Credit Suisse report, "The outlook for the millionaire segment is more optimistic than for the bottom of the wealth pyramid." The Bay Area remains part of the world, according to most experts. 
- The La Honda Creek Open Space Preserve, a 6,142-acre open space reserve in San Mateo County, California, part of the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, opens to the public 
- Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, an undocumented immigrant, is found not guilty of murder for the 2015 shooting of Kathryn Steinle on a San Francisco pier, in a case that had touched off a national immigration debate. 
- A data breach at Stanford University reveals that the university secretly ranked fellowship applicants on their potential value to the university, rather than the university's publicly stated method of by need 
- Silicon Valley software engineer Susan Fowler and San Francisco lobbyist Adama Iwu are featured, with other women, on the cover of Time's 2017 Person of the Year issue, this year given to "The Silence Breakers", people who spoke out against sexual abuse and harassment 
- San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, the city's first Asian-American mayor, dies from a heart attack, with San Francisco Board of Supervisors president London Breed (pictured) sworn in as acting mayor
- Senator Diane Feinstein formally asks Immigration and Customs Enforcement to investigate the West County Detention Center, where multiple federal detainees have stated that they were not allowed to use restrooms. Feinstein wrote, "It has been reported that the conditions are so deplorable that detainees are requesting deportation over pursuing claims in immigration court" 
- Buddy's Cannabis Shop, in San Jose, is the first California business to obtain a state Marijuana Micro-Business License, which, along with a city business license, will make it the first fully licensed recreational marijuana shop in California, when it becomes legal on 1 January 2018  
- Everitt Aaron Jameson, a 25-year-old former marine, is arrested by the FBI on suspicion of planning a terror attack in the Pier 39 area of San Francisco over Christmas 
- Starting January 1, with the Adult Use of Marijuana Act going into effect statewide, Harborside Health Center, The Berkeley Patients Group, and many other Marijuana dispensaries in the Bay Area begin retail sales of Marijuana to the general public  (public performer on 2016 Independence Day pictured)
- Parks in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, including Muir Woods National Monument and Fort Point National Historic Site, experience partial or total closure, due to the United States federal government shutdown of 2018 
- More than 150,000 people attend 2018 Women's March protests across the Bay Area, adding the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements to the protests against President Donald Trump (San Francisco event pictured) 
- The San Francisco Board of Supervisors votes to replace acting mayor London Breed with an interim mayor, former supervisor Mark Farrell (pictured), amid accusations of racism 
- San Jose mayor Sam Liccardo resigns from the Federal Communications Commission Broadband Advisory Board, citing undue influence from telecommunications companies 
- San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón announces his department will begin to retroactively apply Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, which legalized the possession and recreational use of marijuana for adults ages 21 years or older, to misdemeanor and felony convictions dating back to 1975, recalling and re-sentencing up to 4,940 felony marijuana convictions and dismissing and sealing 3,038 misdemeanors 
- The Berkeley City Council declares Berkeley a "sanctuary city" for recreational cannabis sales, prohibiting the use of city resources to assist in enforcing federal marijuana laws or providing information on legal cannabis sales, the first city in California to do so 
- Marin County is ranked worst among all California counties in racial disparity, according to Race Counts and Advancement Project California, with a spokesperson for the groups stating, "We were surprised, and were not expecting Marin to be the number-one county in terms of disparity...It's not that progressive counties have it all figured out" 
- Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley announces that her office will review thousands of marijuana convictions, dating back to 1974, for possible dismissal under Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, guidelines, following closely after San Francisco announced a similar plan (above) 
- Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf alerts city residents to imminent Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids, earning criticism from some federal authorities. She responds, "I was sharing information in a way that was legal and was not obstructing justice, and it was an opportunity to ensure that people were aware of their rights." 
The Bay Area by year
Selected historical image
San Francisco Harbor, 1851
Did you know...
o ... that filmmaker Emiko Omori (pictured, left, with Victor Wong) began her career in 1968 at KQED, becoming one of the first camerawomen to work in news documentaries?
o ... that Fisher Creek is tributary to the largest freshwater wetland in Santa Clara County, Laguna Seca, a seasonal lake important to groundwater recharge and migratory birds?
o ... that San Francisco based architect Jack Hillmer is known for his meticulously hand-crafted Modernist homes built from redwood, and was an exponent of what Lewis Mumford called the "Bay Region style"?
o ... that Stanford University Department of Biology chairman Tim Stearns (pictured), together with his wife, medical researcher Susan Cleveland, tend a fruit tree orchard at their home in Redwood City?
o ... that the Occidental and Oriental Steamship Company's flagship, the Oceanic (pictured), set a Pacific crossing record of 16 days and 10 hours, 8 days less than the ships of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company?
o ... that the building consumed in the 2016 Oakland warehouse fire had at least ten complaints filed on it since 1998? (interior damage pictured)
o ... that after Agnes Fay Morgan conducted a nutritional study with foxes, she presented her data wearing a stole made from the fur of her subjects?
Previous Did you know...
Selected periodic event
Newark Days is an annual four day celebration that takes place in Newark every September to celebrate the incorporation of the city on September 22, 1955. Annual attendance for the celebration is more than 100,000. (Production facilities at Morton Salt, part of the history of the Newark region, pictured)
Selected multimedia file
Bay Area regions, geographic features and protected areas
Things you can do
San Francisco skyline, at sunset
San Francisco Bay Area categories