California earthquake: Berkeley and San Jose locals fearing ‘Big One’ brace for aftershock

The earthquake is believed to have struck just 3km from Berkeley, and some 65 km northwest of San Jose, shortly before 3am local time (10am UK).

The “strong” tremor woke thousands of people up as many took to social media in fear of it being the “Big One”.

One tweeted: “Wow! Just experienced a major earthquake in San Jose, California. Brace for after shocks…”

Another wrote: “Omg, the earthquake scared me! So unexpected and different from others.”

And one said: “There was an earthquake just now and i was fully expecting it to be the big one that destroys California”.

The quake apparently woke people in the Bay Area and was felt in San Francisco, Oakland, Walnut Creek and as far away as Dublin, Livermore, Union City and Milpitas.

Reports indicate the earthquake was felt throughout the region for around five to 10 seconds.

Several jolts were felt at San Francisco International Airport and the US Geological Survey website says people reported feeling the quake 40 miles (64 kilometers) south in San Jose.

One Twitter user posted: “California, you need to chill out. I was not looking to be woken up by your 4.7 mag earthquake.”

Another added: “Still freaking out. All through my childhood, I lived through hurricanes but you always knew when they were coming. It’s terrifying not knowing when an earthquake will strike or how strong it will be. This 4.5 earthquake was a whopper.”

According to the USGS, the quake was recorded at around 4.5 magnitude –  which is not expected to cause major damage.

However, USGS seismologist Robert Sanders said “there’s always a possibility of some minor damage to older structures in the area.”

The epicentre of the earthquake was recorded in the area of the Hayward fault, one of the most feared in the Bay Area, which could produce a magnitude 7 or greater earthquake and is directly underneath heavily populated areas.

It comes a day after a 2.9 magnitude quake struck Cambria in California, and two days after a 3.0 magnitude tremor struck Aromas.

On New Year’s Day, a 6.0 magnitude quake hit Ontario – the largest in the region so far this year.