April 4th, 2010
10:51 PM ET

Earthquakes shake Pacific Coast; one dead in Mexico

A sign came loose from the ceiling of a Barnes & Noble bookstore in Palm Desert, California, following the 7.2-magnitude quake.

[Updated at 10:48 p.m.] The quake was the largest in the Baja California and Southern California area since 1992, the USGS reported.

The '92 quake, which struck in Landers, California, triggered an earthquake the next day in Nevada and another quake 11 days later in Southern California, according to USGS seismologist Lucy Jones. Both were 5.7-magnitude quakes.

[Updated at 10:30 p.m.] The USGS has a feature on its Web site where you can respond if you felt the quake. Thus far, there are hundreds of responses with people claiming to have experienced the earthquake, representing areas in California and Mexico, to Arizona and Nevada.

Meanwhile, Twitter has thousands of posts about the quake. Posts – at different times – are trending under several topics, including: “USGS,” “Earthquake,” “Mexico,” Mexicali” and “Baja California.”

Some are weighing in with their first brushes with an earthquake; others are posting about some of the quake’s effects, such as people they know getting trapped in elevators.

There is even a bit of wry humor. A poster with the name jfranke24 wrote: “Earthquake rumbles through SoCal while we're eating dinner next to the Staples Cntr. You know you're in LA when everybody claps afterwards.” 

[Updated at 10:00 p.m.] CNN's Ted Rowlands reports from Los Angeles, California:

[Updated at 9:40 p.m.]  At least one person has been confirmed killed in a building collapse in Mexicali, according to the assistant director of civil protection in Tijuana. There have also been reports of injuries and structural damage, according to Alfredo Escobedo, Mexico's director of civil protection.

Pictures from Mexicali showed the sides ripped off buildings, toppled  telephone poles, cracked roads, and supermarket aisles strewn with food that  had fallen off shelves. In California and Arizona, there were no immediate reports of injuries and only limited reports of damages. Residents across southern California and Arizona reported serious ground  shakes.

[Updated at 9:33 p.m.] During a press conference earlier this evening, Lucy Jones, a seismologist with the USGS, said some magnitude 5 or magnitude 6 aftershocks were possible during the next few days.

[Updated at 8:52 p.m.] There have been three large aftershocks so far, including one that registered a 5.5 magnitude, and other smaller temblors, USGS said.

[Updated at 8:47 p.m.] Residents across southern California and Arizona reported serious ground shakes. "We have not felt a shake like that since about 1979," Michelle Tapia told CNN from Brawley, California.

Joe Madison was shopping at a department store in Palm Springs, California, when he felt the earthquake. "I felt the entire store move and people went running for the exits," he said.

Madison said people gathered outside in the parking lot until the shaking stopped.

[Updated at 8:36 p.m.] Here's a bit of background on what earthquake magnitudes mean. According to the USGS, any quake that falls in the range of 7.0 to 7.9 is considered "major." Such quakes occur, on average, 17 to 18 times a year.

[Updated at 8:25 p.m.] The Los Angeles Times has this statement from the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) following what the paper describes as "preliminary inspections of major infrastructure" in the city. The LAFD statement says:

"All fire stations completed their district drive-through assessment with no significant damage or injuries reported. LAFD had a slight increase in 911 call load mostly associated with automatic alarms and stuck elevators. Again no significant damage or injuries reported."

[Updated at 8:10 p.m.] The USGS has these details on the quake and a real-time map of quakes in the U.S. during the past seven days.

[Updated at 8:02 p.m.] The magnitude of the earthquake in northwestern Mexico - the epicenter - has been upgraded to 7.2 by the USGS. The quake, which shook the ground at least as far as Los Angeles, California, was originally reported by the USGS to have a 6.9 magnitude.

[Posted at 7:23 p.m.] A string of earthquakes rattled the Pacific Coast of the United States and Mexico on Sunday, including a magnitude 6.9 quake that could be felt across Baja California, Arizona and southern California, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

That quake, centered about 110 miles east-southeast of Tijuana, Mexico, was the largest of at least four that struck from the Mexican desert to the northern California wine country, according to the USGS. There was no immediate report of damage or injuries from the quakes in Los Angeles or San Diego, according to authorities in those cities.

"We felt it for about 30 seconds. It was rolling," San Diego County Sheriff's Lt. Scott Ybarrondo said. "Nothing fell off the walls here, but we have reports of pictures falling off walls elsewhere in the county."

See the shaking in San Diego

The northernmost quake report came from near Santa Rosa, California, north of San Francisco. That magnitude 4.1 temblor struck about nine minutes after the Baja California quake and about 500 miles further north.

Chandeliers swung and water sloshed around in swimming pools in the Los Angeles suburbs, witnesses reported, while posters to the Web site Twitter reported feeling the quake in Phoenix, Arizona.

soundoff (92 Responses)
  1. anonymous

    Hope everyone is okay!!!

    April 4, 2010 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. beverly mcgrew

    we live in chandler arizona and felt it. it shook ouir pool so that we had 1 to 2 foot waves really scary.

    April 4, 2010 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Vanessa Russell

    I live in South Scottsdale, Arizona. My entire trailer was wobbling back & forth and everything in it was moving. It scared the hell out of me because I couldn't figure out what was going on when there was no wind outside at all. This went on for at least 1 minute.

    April 4, 2010 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sallyanne Scott

    I live in Yuma, AZ and we felt the 6.9 tembler it knocked things off shelves such as cd's broke a vase shook all my file doors open spices all over the floor and we have felt all the aftershocks in fact there's another mild one. Sallyanne

    April 4, 2010 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. bravoaz

    Just felt another little shake in Yuma, AZ

    April 4, 2010 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Shawn Schlegel

    We felt the quake in the City of Maricopa

    April 4, 2010 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Cali

    ARIZONA has power outages and people in streets! Chaos... The buildings here in Phoenix are swaying with aftershocks. Was on the second story of a house in Paradise Valley/Scottsdale and it rolled for about a minute. Then pools water went all over and bbq rolled into pool. People are stuck in elevators in Hotels and people are literally in the streets. Panic and chaos.

    April 4, 2010 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Maura

    My family and I saw our chandelier swing for about a minute. we live in Scottsdale, AZ.

    April 4, 2010 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Daniel889

    It was only a matter of time, first Hati, than chilie, and now the Mexico/U.S! Lets hope this is the end of this for now!

    April 4, 2010 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dan O

    We felt the earthquake for 15-20 seconds in downtown LA. Our building shook a little, hanging planters and clothes in the closet were clearly swaying, and the building itself, a 6 story condo building, was audibly creaking.

    April 4, 2010 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Billl Sanders

    I was poolside in the backyard when unusual wave activity caused me to think one of the cats had fallen into the water! When my feet hit the ground to go to the pool I could feel the slight tremor.

    April 4, 2010 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Efrain cuadros jr.

    Hello!
    I live in Santa Cruz California. I have relatives in Mexicali, Mexico. My father grew up there.
    He just called and spoke with my Grandmother. She tells us that they have no power, or running water and that they have many damages. Mostly broken dishes and glass materials.
    Not much for structural damages. She hasn't heard about severe injuries or deaths to any of the local residents. Just lots of cleaning up to do.
    Thought I would share what I know.

    April 4, 2010 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Rosalyn

    I live in Eastside Costa Mesa which is on the border of Newport Beach, where I felt a strong back and forth motion of my home. The chandelier was swinging for 15 minutes afterwards! I was glad that there was no interior damage, but I found quite a few new hairline cracks in the stucco on the exterior of the house. We lost power here , but only for 10-15 seconds. I remodeled this house completely 4 years ago and had to comply with current earthquake requirements for new construction, and I am so happy these requirements exist in California.
    My boyfriend lives in Santa Monica and he thought he was dizzy for some strange reason as he worked at his computer. It wasn't until I called him after the quake did
    he realize that he wasn't losing his mind.

    April 4, 2010 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Don Crowley

    I distinctly felt it for perhaps 15-20 seconds in our 4th floor apartment in Scottsdale, AZ, adjacent to Phoenix. Having been raised in Northern California, I'm used to quakes and I recognized it immediately, even though quakes are almost unknown here.

    April 4, 2010 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Glo

    We live in Imperial Beach, just north of Tijuana. It was rockin' and rollin' a good minute or so, My pets were squawking, and frightened, but no damage to house or contents. Worried about neighbors in Mexico: they do not have same building codes, infrastructure that we do,,,any word from Mexico?

    April 4, 2010 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
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