A magnitude 5.1 earthquake was felt widely across California’s greater San Francisco Bay Area on Tuesday, rattling homes and shaking windows.

The quake hit at 11:42 a.m. with a depth of 4 miles, just south of Mount Hamilton in the hills about 12 miles east of downtown San Jose, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. A magnitude 3.1 aftershock struck shortly after at 11:47 a.m. in the same area.

“This is the biggest earthquake since Napa in the Bay Area,” said Richard Allen, director of UC Berkeley’s Seismology Lab, of today’s big shaker. In 2014, a magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck the North Bay, damaging buildings in downtown Napa and Vallejo and injuring more than 100 people.


Allen said that with a magnitude 5.0, no damage is expected in the Bay Area, while with a 6.0, damage is typically localized, and with a 7.0 magnitude quake, damage is widespread across the region.

Lynne Meyer of Morgan Hill said she was walking in from her garage when she heard what she thought was a bomb going off. “I thought there was an explosion,” she said. “The sound was thunderous.”

As she continued through the door, a floor lamp fell over and almost hit her. “Everything started shaking tremendously and I realized, ‘Oh, I’m in a big, major earthquake,'” she said.

Meyer is a Bay Area native and lived through the 6.9 magnitude Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989. She said Tuesday’s shaking was “beyond anything I ever can recall.” Meyer was not injured, but two mirrors in her home came crashing down.


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