Quake near San Jose shakes up Bay Area

Times Staff Writer

A magnitude 5.6 earthquake centered in the foothills east of San Jose rocked the Bay Area on Tuesday night, shaking up residents over a broad area but producing no immediate reports of significant damage, officials said.

Residents said the quake, which was characterized as moderate but still one of the biggest in the Bay Area since the damaging 6.9-magnitude Loma Prieta quake of 1989, produced a rolling motion that lasted 10 seconds or more.

“There’s a phone line down here and there, is what we’re hearing initially,” said Sgt. Don Morrissey of the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, about an hour after the quake was reported at 8:04 p.m.


Still, Morrissey said, “There’s no reports of any significant damage, no reports of any injuries.”

Morrissey, who was at his home about 10 miles from the epicenter near the Alum Rock area when the quake struck, added, “It hit really hard, and it was a loud pop, followed by a large rumble. I would liken it to an aircraft going overhead. It rolled for quite a while, a good 10 or 15 seconds.”

He added, however, that nothing was knocked down in his home.

The quake was felt over a wide area, including the Central Valley, North Bay, Sierra Nevadas and the Monterey Peninsula. Initial reports indicated the epicenter was about nine miles northeast of San Jose City Hall.

The BART system stopped its trains for several minutes after the quake struck, but an official said that was standard procedure in a temblor, to check for possible damage.

Debbie McGowen, a student at San Jose State who lives in the city’s Willow Glen area, said, “All of a sudden we heard a thud and things were shaking and it went on for about 15 seconds, and one picture fell.

“It was not a punch, it was more of a roller. We definitely got under the door jam” for protection, McGowen said.



Times staff writer Tim Reiterman contributed to this report.