3.6 magnitude earthquake takes thousands of Californians by surprise

A small earthquake caused minor damage when it struck the San Francisco Bay Area, CA

A small magnitude 3.6 earthquake struck the San Francisco Bay Area, jolting thousands of people awake and causing minor damage.

The earthquake occurred at 3:39 a.m. Saturday and was centered in El Cerrito, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The small city of 25,000 residents is north of Berkeley and about a 16-mile drive to downtown San Francisco.

It was the largest earthquake in Contra Costa County since November 2021 and felt by thousands of people outside the county and around the region, including in San Francisco, reported the Bay Area News Group.

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A small earthquake hit El Cerrito, California, at 3:39 a.m. on Saturday. Thousands of residents around the region woke up in the middle of the night to the area shaking.

A small earthquake hit El Cerrito, California, at 3:39 a.m. on Saturday. Thousands of residents around the region woke up in the middle of the night to the area shaking. (Fox News)

Significant damage and casualties don't usually occur until the magnitudes are around 5.5 or higher, said Paul Caruso, a geophysicist with the National Earthquake Information Center, which is part of the geological survey. He said that by Saturday morning, nearly 8,000 people had reported felling the quake.

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Carrie Kahn of Berkeley told the Bay Area News Group that she was sleeping when the building began shaking.

"I was so relieved when I realized the power and internet were still working. Then, I saw the mess in the kitchen in the morning; my spice jars fell out of the cabinet and were all broken," she said.