San Jose’s Halloween Eve earthquake

Below at the bottom of this article is a graphical map of San Jose’s Halloween Eve earthquake. The epicenter of the quake is the red star in the center.

It happened a little after 8 p.m. while I was in class in law school (right arrow). The classroom was in a basement of a mid-rise building in downtown San Jose. As first there was a low rumbling… for about 5 seconds. It felt like a freight train going by.

Then BAM.. it was like someone took the floor and started shaking it up and down real hard and very fast. If you’ve ever driven your car into a ditch before – that’s how it felt. That lasted for about 5 or 6 more seconds.

Then it started to subside in a rolling fashion. That felt like the room was on a boat in heavy seas. It kinda made you queasy. During this part, I got up and headed for the door. That rolling lasted for a few more seconds and finally tapered off.

As you read this, a “few seconds” may not seem like much, but when adrenaline kicks in 10-15 seconds can feel like a LOOOOOOOOOOOONG time.


Where my home is in Mountain View (Left Arrow), the shaking was much less severe. My husband and our pets rode out the rumbles like seasoned veterans.

Me, being an Indiana boy, I think I handled the situation – which was the strongest earthquake I lived through – fine. But it did make enough of an impression on me that I decided to write about it here. (And make a map to boot.)

After a 10-minute break, my class resumed and Judge Ware, continued his lecture as if nothing happened. But with the student turmoil, he ended class early since many of the students were freaking out about being in a trapped basement if a bigger quake hit.

October 30 Earthquake