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SERIES OF TEMBLORS SHAKE N. CALIFORNIA

SHARE SERIES OF TEMBLORS SHAKE N. CALIFORNIA

A series of strong earthquakes struck northern California Wednesday, rattling the nerves of residents in a 100-mile area from San Francisco south to Salinas on the anniversary of the catastrophic 1906 quake.

The hardest quake struck at 6:54 a.m. and measured a preliminary 5.4 on the Richter scale, Allen Lindh of the U.S. Geological Survey said. The UC-Berkeley Seismographic Station measured the quake at a preliminary 5.5 on the Richter scale.The sheriff's office in Santa Cruz County, about 50 miles south of San Francisco, said residents reported minor damage to household items.

Both agencies said the quakes hit along the San Andreas fault just east of Watsonville, about 60 miles south of San Francisco, in the Loma Prieta area, where the Oct. 17 quake measured 7.1 on the Richter scale. The two other strong quakes Wednesday included one at 6:38 a.m. that measured a preliminary 4.5 on the Richter scale, centered southeast of Watsonville, and another 4.5 quake at 6:41 a.m.