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Published October 31, 2007 01:16 AM

Moderate earthquake hits Northern California

OAKLAND, California (Reuters) - A magnitude 5.6 earthquake struck in a rural area about 9 miles northeast of San Jose, California, Silicon Valley's biggest city, on Tuesday night, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The earthquake was felt across the San Francisco Bay Area just before 8:05 p.m. (11:05 p.m. EDT). There were no immediate reports of major damage but the San Jose Mercury News Web site reported phone service failed in a part of Palo Alto, home to Hewlett-Packard computer company and Stanford University.

It said the quake caused minor damage and residents poured out of apartments in downtown San Jose to survey the damage.

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"It was pretty significant. you could actually hear the rumbling of the ground. It was a good shake," said Nick Muyo, a spokesman for the San Jose Police Department.

Asked about damage, he said he knew of "nothing other than things tipping off cabinets and dressers."

The quake occurred at a depth of 5.7 miles, according to the USGS.

(Additional reporting by Adam Tanner)

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