In California: Tremors on the Fault

Willard D. McNown, a semiretired chiropractor, moved away from the Ridgemark Country Club last year. About 2 in. He did the same the year before. First the living room and an upstairs bedroom moved, then the library and kitchen. The garage, or at least one side of it, followed a little later. Walls cracked, ceilings split and doors jammed. Before long, scientists and sightseers were arriving by the busload.

McNown is not a victim of termites or building-code violations. Rather, the Calaveras fault—a tributary of the mighty San Andreas fault three miles away—runs right...

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