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. John442

    Does anyone know if the border is open to cross? My daughter is in Mexicali and I wonder if she can cross back into the U.S.

    April 4, 2010 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Tavo

    Here in Yuma, AZ we had to evacuate the 4 story building where I was at. Everything was shaking and lights started going out. People were surprised that something like this was going on

    April 4, 2010 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. francina

    i live in calexico, ca which is literally 2 minutes from the mexicali and it shook very very hard..it was a very scary experience and i have never ever been so scared. Frames, glasses & lamps broke in my home

    April 4, 2010 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Berney Aguilar

    I called my family in mexicali but not phone services, most the time I chat we my brother he lives in Mexicali we chat last nigth but nothing about. this earquake happen today , sure I still looking for more information please.

    April 4, 2010 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
  5. elizabeth

    please get info posted about the imperial valley, Calexio and El Centro. What is happening at the border crossing there? mexicali news is reporting more buildings down and more fatalities than i think you have here on CNN. I know you have someone in route to the area, but please have them concentrate on the imperial valley and what is happening at the border.

    April 4, 2010 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
  6. francina

    also at one of our local restaurants the roof caved in, roof shingles came off and the parked cars looked as if they were going to roll away..the most scariest thing ever i hope everyone in mexicali and mexico are OKAY! god bless them.

    April 4, 2010 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Edgar O.

    We felt it in a familygathering. Was actually pretty scary 'cus everything was shaking. Nothing got knocked over, so we calm down for the moment.

    April 4, 2010 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
  8. annemarie edwards

    we were sitting on the beach in oceanside calif. when the quake hit. It seemed as if time stood still. Everyone on the beach stopped what they were doing and looked at each other. The waves were quite large just before it happened and then were much smaller. We all felt dizzy. We watched for a tsunami but none appeared. What an interesting feeling! We hope everyone is fine

    April 4, 2010 at 11:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. francina

    for those asking about the border it is open.. 😉

    April 4, 2010 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Drea

    Am in Santiago Chile right now. we just had another after shock about 30 mins ago. it's over a month since the big quake, it keeps shaking. hold on west coast.

    April 4, 2010 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Dr. Andy and Mr. Tom

    We are the shook
    We are the shaken
    We are the ones who got a little scared
    So let's start giving

    April 5, 2010 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |
  12. lynn

    I live in Vista in a house that was built in the 50's & I couldn't believe it when my sister called to check on me from Mexico. Since this old house didn't move a bit.

    April 5, 2010 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
  13. Monica

    Im in Calexico... but we can listen to Mexicali's radio stations... and he've heard that there is no electricity, no phone lines, no gas stations serving... etc... some houses were pretty damaged.. I hope things reestablish soon... here in Calexico, we are grateful to have everything ok.. just scared with each replica... hope everyone is ok for all of you searching for relatives... lets keep us praying..

    April 5, 2010 at 12:24 am | Report abuse |
  14. Jose Gonzalez

    I live in Phoenix, Az and I was born and raised in Mexicali, I was told by my brother there that the house where I used live there it was destroyed. there is no electrical pwer.

    April 5, 2010 at 12:28 am | Report abuse |
  15. Sade

    I didn't feel anything, I am in Riverside, Ca.

    April 5, 2010 at 12:31 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7