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. Alton J. Jones

    I felt the earthquake in my hi-rise condo (near Central Ave and Clarendon Ave) on the 10th floor today in Phoenix, AZ 85013. My unit is in the center of the building facing north.

    The walls in my unit squeaked mildly and there was movement felt in the floor.

    April 4, 2010 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
  2. beto

    we felt it here in tecate , baja california

    April 4, 2010 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Carol Dressler

    We are in a campsite in Yuma and it shook us pretty good several times no damage that I can see and none here but it has shaken us pretty good.

    April 4, 2010 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Cinda Blackledge

    My daughter who lives in Mexicali texted me just after the big earthquake hit, and was totally scared to death,.

    As we were texting back and forth, the after shcks were happening. I turned on CNN and was updating her and family what was being said, as she has no electicity, water, or other via of communication. Phone lines are down and she in not aware what has happened in her city. As the updates are occuring, I am informing her the latest, such as more aftershocks to come in next couple days. Also after the Mexico reporter was able to report from twitter the damages, such as Chamber of Commerce building, hospital evacuated, roads buckling, I am able to let her know what is occuring..as all the people in Mexicali are unaware at this point what has occured after the fact.

    April 4, 2010 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Aaron W.

    Just a little rolling in Queen Creek, AZ

    April 4, 2010 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Maria

    My son is in cabo Mexico...anyone know what's going on there?

    April 4, 2010 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Eric Vaughan

    We felt it in Maricopa, Arizona. It was a back and forth motion here, No visible damage. Animals didn't get upset. I was in a second floor home office sitting down and it was pretty pronounced, but felt like everything was moving, just alittle bit.

    April 4, 2010 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jay

    Felt it for about 30 seconds in downtown Phoenix. A steady side-to-side motion that made me a bit nauseous and then my curtains were moving but no wind or breeze. Wow!

    April 4, 2010 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Maxine

    I pray that everyone will be ok...stay safe. I just knew one would have to hit the USA sometime soon since the Earth seems to be shifting all over the world. God be with everyone.

    April 4, 2010 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Melanie

    My husband is in Ensenada. Any reports of what they felt or any damage there?

    April 4, 2010 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Lori

    I heard the calexico border crossing is closed...is this true?

    April 4, 2010 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Lisa

    Felt earthquake in Quartzsite, Az for at least five minutes feeling aftershocks . Living in a second story building got out fast after seeing fish tank water move heavy.

    April 4, 2010 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mark

    Cali's post re Phoenix is overblown. We live in Phoenix area, and our light fixtures swayed for a little while, but very minor. No panic, no chaos, just a little tremor.

    April 4, 2010 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Roxanne Correa

    I live in El Centro California. It was really bad. I was at a McDonalds and me and my family ran out side. All I saw were cars moving back and forth. The ground was shaking really bad I had to hold on to a rail to stay up. There was also a pool across the street with the water coming out. =( But when I went home all my things and my dresser was on the floor.

    April 4, 2010 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
  15. catherine

    We live in Las Vegas , Nv and noticed big waves in our pool and saw the chandelier swaying. My daughters dolls fell down on shelf. I couldn't feel it, but it definitely moved the gound here.

    April 4, 2010 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
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