Rockin' and Rollin' Tonight in Northern CA

Fortunately this wasn’t the next “big one” that everyone speculates about, nor as powerful as the 1989 Loma Prieta quake, but the ground certainly shook tonight. Centered about 5 miles north east of Alum Rock, CA (close to San Jose, CA) on the Calaveras Fault, a 5.6 earthquake rolled through the south bay at 8:05pm. At first I thought a neighbor in my townhouse complex had strangely slammed their door really hard, then it started to sound like a freight train was coming through my front door. A couple of seconds later it finally dawned on me what was happening and before I could “duck and cover” as we used to practice in school or find a doorway to stand in, it was over. Maybe 30-40 seconds worth of the ground rolling and shaking. No major damage has been reported and a 5.6 is considered a “moderate” quake by the USGS. But it certainly got me thinking, “Find the flashlight, make sure it has fresh batteries. Do I have enough bottled water?, etc.” I also did a walk through of my place to check for any cracks in the walls and ceilings, esp. upstairs. I’m lucky too, that my clever dad had bolted my very tall bookshelves in my office/guest room to the wall several years ago. Any slightly stronger shake would have sent those books and potentially the bookshelves tumbling. (Sorry the picture is sideways, I had rotated it and resaved it before uploading and it’s still sideways…weird). shelves1.jpg

Interestingly enough, immediately afterwards none of my phones worked. Two cell phones and one landline. Nothing. The first people I was able reach were none other than Hall and Jannita, both on IM. Good to know for the next one, that the internet stayed “working” while our other technology became unreliable for about 15-20 minutes. If you’re interested in reading more, here’s a link to the San Jose Mercury News article.

So I started thinking a) about our Northern CA DEN members and b) I wonder how many downloads of earthquake videos there will tomorrow be as I imagine the talk of “school” will be about our big “shake” tonight. What a great way to foster the conversation of earthquake preparedness too! Hopefully there won’t be any strong after shocks tonight and tomorrow for Halloween.

Bay Area DEN members, especially those in Alum Rock, Milpitas, Fremont, San Jose, Alameda and the rest of the south bay, we hope you’re all okay. Let us know!


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  1. Diana Kenney said:

    Glad…you are okay. I had my 14 year old daughter crying on my lap and my dog trying to jump on board during the and after the shake..I judge all quakes by the 7.1 Loma Prieta quake…this felt very small by comparison. I director lives 2miles from the epicenter and lost several valuables.

  2. Sharon Eilts said:

    I was teaching at SJSU that night in a computer lab of all places! Those CRT’s were rocking and I was worried that the teaches in my class were not getting it that if a crt breaks because of the pressurization the glass would explode everywhere. Sometimes, sitting under a desk on wheels is just not a good idea.


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