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. Rafael

    We live in the City of Imperial, CA and have lived in this area for the past 22 years. This was the strongest earthquake that we have felt. We went outside to our front yard and saw our house shake and the windows seems as they were going to break. Several items in our house were broken including drinking glasses, pots, etc. The water line that feeds to our water heater was broken and water was spraying everywhere.

    April 4, 2010 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Beth in Torrance

    We were in a 2nd story apartment in Torrance, we really felt the rolling waves and they went on for about a minute at least, they just never seemed to end. Then we looked out the window and the water in the apartment pool was sloshing back and forth rapidly and spilling out of the pool. Amazing!

    April 4, 2010 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Brett

    Here in Huntington Beach (Orange County) it seemed to last a little longer than the reported 12-30 seconds. More like 45 seconds and a constant rolling motion. I guess it depends on the type of ground you are sitting on. Pool water thrown over the edge

    April 4, 2010 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. IdaN

    Power is still out in parts of Imperial, CA. Heard rumors that the hospitals in Mexicali may have been damaged. Lot's of damage to things in our home, thank God we are OK though.

    April 4, 2010 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
  5. fred

    calexico west is closed and calexico east is now open

    April 4, 2010 at 11:16 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ang

    Does anyone know if this was felt in the Los Barrilles region? I'm very worried...my sister is down there and I can't get ahold of her.

    April 4, 2010 at 11:16 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ruth

    Hello: Felt nothing here in San Tan Valley, AZ. We are one hour south of Tucson. approximately 45 minutes southeast of Gilbert. We are in between both cities who experienced the quake. Also mesa, az felt it we are 45 min south of mesa. Mesa experienced quake also.

    Was at home nothing moved in my house.

    April 4, 2010 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Paul

    I livw in Yuam, Az. and as of 8pm MST, we're still feeling aftershocks.

    April 4, 2010 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Megs

    Ya i in san diego and felt the quake. it was funny mom and i were watchin a movie and we herd the quake first then we felt it. mom said get in the halway so i grab the dog and mom in such a rush she pulling me back. lol. so far here in pq we have felt 4 strong after shocks bout the strength of the quake just not as long.

    April 4, 2010 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. jonathan

    my mother inlaw lives in la mesa ca and she felt alot at her home aswell just wondering if this could be a big probblem for the rest of california cause the san andreas fault line. can california get hit very hard from a large amount of earthquakes???? i have been looking and since this morning there have been almost30 or 40 more quakes ranging from 3.0 and up.needing to know if im going to need to get my family out of san diego

    April 4, 2010 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. kg

    This is the first time I did not recognize right away that there was an earthquake. I usually feel even the smallest one even when I am sleeping! I was having a bite at a restaurant in the city of Orange and all of a sudden I felt so dizzy. I got worried. I felt like the entire room was spinning...I hadn't been drinking but I thought maybe something was wrong with me. I told my mom that I was feeling very dizzy and that everything was spinning around me. I thought I was either losing it or that there was something medically wrong with me! It is not until I looked at the chandeliers that I realized it was probably an earthquake! My mother didn't even feel it!

    April 4, 2010 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Marie

    I was in chandler AZ, My family and I were sitting watching a movie and watched all 4 dogs run outside and lay down then we felt the shake it made the pool water slosh into the backyard. We all got a dizzy feeling with slight Nausea kind of like a weak sea sickness. I have never felt an earthquake before but it did not feel how I had imagined it. We also had a cat that was walking funny for about 2 hours after the initial shaking.

    April 4, 2010 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Someone living in LA

    I felt it in San Fernando Valley, Lasted maybe for 50 seconds, ground was moving side to side and books in my bookshelf were swaying lightly. Seriously thought it would be the big one. Glad it is gone now, although i heard there will be aftershocks. Hope everyone in mexico is ok

    April 4, 2010 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Brianna Rangel

    We live in El Centro, Calif. and our journalists are working to get some more information from the ground because some stores are reporting collapsed roofs and things like that. While things were shaking in San Diego, I venture it was much worse in our local area. We are north of the epicenter and are used to smaller earthquakes, however, this caused power outages in our area, some block walls to fall and some water mains broken.

    April 4, 2010 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Natalie

    My family of Imperial, CA, were in our suv returning to our home and the quake hit, making cars jump all over the sides of the road. Our suv rocked back and forth for about 30 or more seconds quite violently. Light poles were bouncing horribly and people were scurrying outside. Our 2 story house was okay, but inside was another story, Upstairs demolished as things flew off shelves and littered the floors. Some broken items, crooked pictures on walls, broken plant pot or dish here or there. Window hanging art of stained glass was hanging by one of two supports. Pop cans fell out of pantry cupboards and were spraying all over the floor. Many many aftershocks and very worried neighbors

    April 4, 2010 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
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