Special Reports
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M 5.2 (NCSN), Mw 4.9 UCB

7.6 km (4.7 miles)

Moderate M 5.2 earthquake shakes the SF Bay Area

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A little more than a dozen aftershocks have been recorded thus far, the largest of which measured M 3.2 and occurred at 11:20 p.m. that evening. It was locally felt.

The USGS has issued an aftershock warning for the possibility of larger quakes. This is a standard warning issued for all earthquake in California registering M 5.0 or stronger.

Felt Reports
The quake was sharply felt in south San Francisco Bay area and as far away as Santa Rosa and Sacramento to the north, Big Sur and Greenfield to the south, and Stockton, Modesto and Merced to the east.

Early reports indicate minor damage has occurred in Gilroy and surrounding communities, including some broken windows, items thrown from tables and shelves, and local power and telephone outages. There have been no report of injuries at this time.

Did you feel this quake? Where were you and what were you doing? Send us a note.

People said the shaking lasted for several seconds, with reports ranging from 5-20 seconds depending on where they were. Some people were frighten, saying it was the strongest quake they had ever felt. Many people near the epicenter ran from buildings. One film clip from a 7/11 store security camera showed the room shaking and customers bolting from the building.

Many heard sounds, like a fright train racing by or a loud roar. People further from the epicenter reported soft groans coming from the earth. Some burglar alarms sounded and a few people reported car alarms sounded. A sprinkler fire system in the Gilroy Wal-Mart went off, soaking retail goods through out the store.

We have not had many reports of animal reactions, but a few said their cats were non excited, one said their cat acted strange, and another said their rabbits went crazy for a while (after the quake?).

One person felt the earthquake while driving in their car on Highway 101 near Gilroy and e-mail Seismo-Watch as soon as they got home.

Commercial stores in the region reported isles littered with retail goods, some facades were cracked and lost some bricks or plaster, and a few utility lines and irrigation pipes cracked, causing water to run down sidewalks and streets. Some ceiling tiles were knocked from roofs. See archived wirenews images.

The San Jose Fire Department responded to a fire to a home on Miller Avenue near Bollinger Road. Firefighters had it under control within an hour, but the home was completely gutted. The probable cause is a ruptured gas line to a toppled water heater in a garage.

As a precaution, the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) train system slowed trains and checked the tracks for damage.

The quake was felt at Pacific Bell Park during the Giants vs. Braves baseball game, reminiscent of the Loma Prieta M 7.1 earthquake that struck during the 1989 World Series. It was also felt at the San Jose Hockey Arena (Compaq Center or a.k.a. "The Shark Tank") during the Sharks vs. Avalanche National League Playoff game.

This was the largest earthquake in the San Francisco Bay Area since the September 3, 2000, Napa M 5.2 quake. That quake injured dozens and caused more than $60 million in damage. It was nearly as large as the recent New York M 5.1 earthquake that occurred on April 20, which caused at least $11 million in damage.

The most recent quake of comparable magnitude was the Tres Pinos M 4.9 earthquake that struck on December 28. It was followed by a robust aftershock sequence that included hundreds quakes and lasted for weeks. See Seismo-Watch Central California earthquake report for that week.

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Report update: 10:27:18 PM, Wednesday, May 15, 2002

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