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Earthquake Rocks Northern California, Little Damage Reported

January 27, 1986

HOLLISTER, Calif. (AP) _ This farming town, the epicenter of a moderate earthquake and aftershocks that continued into today, ″held together pretty well″ except for a break in a storage vat that spilled 20,000 gallons of red wine, a police dispatcher says.

The most serious damage caused by the earthquake on Sunday, which measured 5.5 on the Richter scale, took place at the Cienega Winery of Almaden vineyards, 11 miles south of Hollister, said dispatcher Liz Nelson.

At an abandoned farmhouse south of town, a falling oak tree dented the roof, she said.

There were no reports of injuries or major property damage in Hollister, about 100 miles south of San Francisco, said police officer Jeff Vaden.

The 11:20 a.m. quake rippled through a large part of the state, said Anthony Lomax of the University of California at Berkeley Seismograph Station.

The San Andreas Fault zone tremor was centered five miles southeast of Hollister, but Lomax said it rattled as far as San Francisco to the north, southeast to Fresno and directly south as far as San Luis Obispo.

Three aftershocks were recorded in the same area, two on Sunday and one today at 2:13 a.m., according to Connie Lorscheider, the police dispatcher on duty at the time.

Today’s earthquake had a preliminary reading of 3.9, according to the state Office of Emergency Planning.

″It shook the papers on my desk and lasted about 15 second,″ said Lorscheider. ″It rumbled and there was a rolling feeling to it.″

The storage vat of wine was knocked loose from its foundations and spilled at the winery, said state Department of Forestry fire engineer Kelly Blake. Several other vats of wine leaked, and at least three maintenance workers were ordered to leave the building because of a threat of collapse, he said.

Residents in Stockton, about 60 miles east of San Francisco, said the quake splashed water out of swimming pools and rattled chandeliers.

The Richter scale measures ground motion and energy released by a quake. The devastating 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, which occurred before the scale was devised, has been estimated at 8.3.

University of California seismologists’ preliminary estimates gave the earthquake a magnitude of 5.5, Lomax said. The National Earthquake Information Service in Boulder, Colo., reported a Richter reading of 5.2 and state Department of Water Resources equipment rated it at 4.9.

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