Quake shakes Bay Area, hits 5.6

A magnitude 5.6 earthquake that shook the Bay Area on Tuesday evening was centered in the San Jose area along the Calaveras fault, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The epicenter of the 8:04 p.m. quake was near Alum Rock, in the Diablo Range foothills east of San Jose — not far from the home of San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed.

Pictures fell off the walls of Reed’s house, but the mayor said there was no major damage there. “It wasa pretty strong ride here,” Reed said.

The quake occurred about 5.7 miles below ground, at a depth where most of the bigger earthquakes occur, said David Oppenheimer, a seismologist at USGS in Menlo Park.

“It was pretty widely felt around the Bay Area,” Oppenheimer said, with people as far north as Mill Valley, and in some cases in Sonoma and Sebastopol, feeling the shaking, and as far south as Monterey.

The USGS recorded as many as 10 aftershocks in the area following the quake, with the largest having a magnitude of 2.1. The last big earthquake along the Calaveras fault was the 1984 Morgan Hill quake with a magnitude of 6.2, Oppenheimer said.

Police dispatch reported a steady stream of calls about 10 to 15 minutes following the quake, but there were no injuries or damage reported. BART trains pulled into their nearest stations and stopped for five minutes, as is the standard procedure. The tracks were examined for damage and service resumed, said Linton Johnson, BART spokesman.

“There’s no damage so far and we’re not anticipating any,” Johnson said.

A representative of Caltrain said all trains were stopped as soon as the earthquake hit, and continued to run at restricted speed.

San Francisco resident Anthony Terranova was in a building at Franklin and O’Farrell streets, when he felt the shaking “for a good five to eight seconds, nothing major, just a little shaker. I enjoyed it, actually.”

Santa Clara resident Mike Davis, who was much closer to the epicenter, said, “It definitely felt like a pretty good size, but I was here in ’89 so I know what a big one feels like. The windows shook but there was no damage.”

jsabatini@examiner.com

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