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Strong Earthquake Breaks Windows, Knocks Kids Off Their Feet

June 13, 1988

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) _ A strong earthquake that broke windows, emptied supermarket shelves and knocked children off their feet was one of the strongest temblors to hit the quake-prone region in years, authorities said.

The earthquake, felt over a 350-mile area from Santa Rosa to Bakersfield, was the sharpest of at least three measurable temblors in California on Sunday. There were no reports of serious injuries or damage.

″We got rocked and rolled pretty good,″ said police dispatcher Chris Mraz in Milpitas, 10 miles west of the quake’s center.

The quake registered 5.3 on the Richter scale, according to the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park. The University of California Seismographic Station in Berkeley recorded it at 5.1 on the Richter scale of ground motion.

Ceilings cracked, a water pipe burst and burglar alarms sounded in the area closest to the epicenter, and nervous residents rushed into the street in at least one neighborhood and jammed phone lines throughout the San Francisco Bay area. One man said he saw parked cars moving in the U.S. Army’s Presidio base in San Francisco.

The quake hit at 6:45 p.m. and was centered on the Calaveras Fault about 10 miles northeast of San Jose, near unincorporated Alum Rock.

Both seismographic centers recorded several small aftershocks Sunday night, and Berkeley center spokesman Anthony Lomax warned that another temblor of up to magnitude 4 was likely.

Experts expressed concern because the 5-mile-long epicenter was just north of the center of a destructive quake that hit Morgan Hill in 1984, registering 6.2 on the Richter scale, the region’s strongest temblor in years.

Sunday’s quake’s shallow epicenter increased its impact on the area, experts said.

Two children in Fremont, 10 miles north of the epicenter, said they were knocked to the floor and suffered mild bruises when the ground began to ripple.

″It still hurts when I walk,″ said 5-year-old Tommy Harang, whose 12- year-old sister Chrissy also took a fall.

In Milpitas, the quake knocked dozens of boxes, cans and bottles off the shelves of at least one supermarket and further cracked a window damaged in an earlier quake.

″We got off pretty easy,″ said Bill Smith, the night manager. ″I’ve lived in California all my life, so I’m blase about earthquakes. I thought, ’Here we go again.‴

Earlier Sunday, an earthquake registering 3.3 on the Richter scale jolted Napa and Solano counties in northern California, and a quake measuring 3.4 hit the inland area of Southern California around Ontario.

The Ontario temblor was the second widely felt quake to hit Southern California since Friday, when a shaker measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale hit 40 miles northwest of Los Angeles and was felt in much of central and southern California.

The Richter scale is a measure of ground motion as recorded on seismographs. Every increase of one number means a tenfold increase in the strenth of the shaking.

An earthquake of 3.5 on the Richter scale can cause slight damage in the local area, 4 moderate damage, 5 considerable damage, 6 severe damage.

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