5.1 magnitude earthquake shakes San Jose


Lakshmi Mulgund

A 5.1 magnitude earthquake hit 12 miles east of the San Jose upper school campus yesterday at 11:42 a.m. The campus suffered no damage to the property and continued the school day as scheduled after the incident.

A 5.1 magnitude earthquake struck 12 miles east of the San Jose upper school campus yesterday at 11:42 a.m.

Three aftershocks followed yesterday at magnitudes 2.9 at 11:47 a.m., 3.5 at 3:08 p.m. and 2.8 at 5:20 p.m but caused no damage to the campus, so there was no need for evacuation.

“At first we didn’t know what it was and we thought it was strange — we thought we had imagined it,” Disha Gupta (9), who was on Davis Field during the earthquake, said. “But people started talking about it and the PA announcement came on, and we were like ‘Oh, that makes sense.’”

Just after the earthquake, Dean of Students Kevin Williamson made an announcement over the school speaker system to report the incident and to advise students to stay safe. Daniel Chen (10), who felt the earthquake while inside Manzanita Hall, commented on the announcement system.

“The warning system right now only works when you have a direct line of access to the intercom,” Daniel said. “I think since it was during lunch not many of the students actually heard it. It was only the kids inside teachers’ rooms or next to buildings that were actually able to hear the announcement. Lots of [my friends] didn’t even notice the earthquake because they were outside.”

Upper school chemistry teachers Robbie Korin, Dr. Casey Brown and Andrew Irvine were inside a chemistry classroom during the earthquake and followed duck-and-cover protocol as soon as they felt the shaking.

Page 38 of the Upper School Student Handbook instructs students to “duck and cover” in the event of an earthquake. “That was the biggest earthquake I had ever experienced even though it wasn’t even that violent,” upper school chemistry teacher Robbie Korin said. (Harker Upper School Handbook)

“The way [Nichols] is built — it sways a lot,” Korin said. “So there was definitely a lot of shaking, and for me, that was the biggest earthquake I had ever experienced even though it wasn’t even that violent.”

Korin explained that Harker will most likely not add any more safety precautions now since earthquake protocols have remained the same since the Loma Prieta 1989 earthquake in the Bay Area.

Yesterday’s incident marks the largest earthquake in the Bay Area since the 6.0 magnitude Napa quake took place in 2014. Research Geophysicist Dr. Annemarie Baltay spoke yesterday on the likelihood of further aftershocks from the earthquake in a video posted by the U.S. Geological Survey on Twitter.

“There is a 1 in 100 chance of an aftershock greater than a magnitude 5 in the next day,” Dr. Baltay said in the video. “There could be 10 to 15 aftershocks of magnitude 3 or greater in the next week.”

Additional reporting by Tiffany Zhu.