A strong earthquake that broke windows, emptied supermarket shelves and knocked children off their feet was one of the strongest temblors to hit the quake-prone region in years, authorities said.

The earthquake, felt over a 350-mile area from Santa Rosa to Bakersfield, was the sharpest of at least three measurable temblors in California on Sunday. There were no reports of serious injuries or damage."We got rocked and rolled pretty good," said police dispatcher Chris Mraz in Milpitas, 10 miles west of the quake's center.

The quake registered 5.3 on the Richter scale, according to the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park. The University of California Seismographic Station in Berkeley recorded it at 5.1 on the Richter scale of ground motion.

Ceilings cracked, a water pipe burst and burglar alarms sounded in the area closest to the epicenter, and nervous residents rushed into the street in at least one neighborhood and jammed phone lines throughout the San Francisco Bay area. One man said he saw parked cars moving in the U.S. Army's Presidio base in San Francisco.

The quake hit at 6:45 p.m. and was centered on the Calaveras Fault about 10 miles northeast of San Jose, near unincorporated Alum Rock.

Experts expressed concern because the 5-mile-long epicenter was just north of the center of a destructive quake that hit Morgan Hill in 1984, registering 6.2 on the Richter scale, the region's strongest temblor in years.