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. Britt K BOOHER

    We felt it here in Gilbert Arizona. Water was sloshing out of the pool. Who would of guessed?

    April 5, 2010 at 12:33 am | Report abuse |
  2. Ray

    I live in San Diego and we really felt it. I found out that it was 19 miles south of the border in Mexicali. We are originally from El Centro, Ca (Imperial Valley) and have been here in San Diego for over 20 years now. I remember the one we had in the Imperial Valley back in 1979 that registered at 6.7 and it did alot of damage back then, but this one they had today was bigger. I was able to get thru to the family and they are fine. Mom said that all the china in her china cabinet was destroyed. The china was "flew out" as if someone was throwing them. Parts of the town have no power and there are some long lines for those wanting to get food and part of the Interstate 8 highway going east out of the town is blocked off. Seems like some possible structure damage to some over the overpasses. Lets hope and pray that everyone is fine.

    April 5, 2010 at 12:35 am | Report abuse |
  3. Wendee Richmond

    I was walking down the hall in my Phoenix home, and suddenly got nauseous, then noticed the water sloshing back and forth in my pool.. three pictures fell off my wall, and I noticed thee chandelier was swaying as well.. I lived in SoCal during the Landers quake, as well as the one in Reseda, and this one felt just as scary as those!!

    April 5, 2010 at 12:52 am | Report abuse |
  4. Jane

    Was enjoying a niceThai dinner in El Centro when quake hit, we patrons didn't take it seriously at first but the waitress starting yelling at us to get out, next thing I knew the shaking got really violent. Ground moving so much had trouble walking out the door. Saw lots of block wall fences toppled over and leaking water pipes. Saw two hot water heaters on the ground. Hospital and nursing home evacucated. one street light fell on electrical wires. Batteries crashed thru window at a auto suppley store, and one local paint store's items fell off the shelves. I am used to shakes, and didn't realize how serious it was till I saw all the damage. Cell service was out for awhile and electric service was out. Gas service stations were closed, and there were alot of people out on the streets.

    April 5, 2010 at 12:54 am | Report abuse |
  5. Kevin B.

    I live El Paso,Texas I just got off the phone last hour from my uncle he is in San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonora, Mexico hes saying that there is no electricity and no water access in the city and the police over there are advising residents to get out of their homes

    April 5, 2010 at 12:58 am | Report abuse |
  6. Cathy

    I live in Newport Beach, CA.I felt it for about a min, then about 5 min or so after, I felt a really light one. The water in my bottle was moving back and forth. My townhouse was rattling, the doors where moving back and forth. I felt like I lost my balance. I've been here for 6 years and have never been so scared in my life!! All I could think of during the earthquake was what happened to Haiti and Chile.

    April 5, 2010 at 1:17 am | Report abuse |
  7. Linda

    I'm in Lake Havasu City AZ. Was sitting in the E.R. with my son, and it took a minute for us to realize it was a quake. Also felt an aftershock just about the time we realized what the first movement was. We've felt them here before, but not very often. Haven't felt anything much since the initial quake and aftershock.

    April 5, 2010 at 1:48 am | Report abuse |
  8. Alex

    My dad was in a casino in Mexicali when the earthquake hit. He said he held on to two machines while the ceiling was falling and other slots machines were also falling to the ground. He said it was so dark everyonw started running towards the door, while tripping on each other and the slot machines that fell to the ground. My family has lived there all theie lives and they said it is the strongest earthquake they have felt. I was visiting them but drove to San Diego a couple of hours before the earthquake hit. One of my brother's has been telling me the ground is continuing to shake. I was talking to him when the 5.1 aftershock was hitting. I told him that I was feeling it in San Diego as well.

    April 5, 2010 at 1:59 am | Report abuse |
  9. Margie

    All I know is that I have been feeling queasy in my stomach(which is usually like cast iron) yesterday and today. Was in church tonight, nothing felt in Sacramento/Orangevale as far as I can tell. It's windy, gusty, stormy. This is Easter. We should all be on our knees.

    April 5, 2010 at 2:01 am | Report abuse |
  10. guadalupe

    I am from tijuana and the quake felt really hard my family and I were really scared but thank God everyone is alright.

    April 5, 2010 at 2:03 am | Report abuse |
  11. Barbi

    Thank you for reporting on the earthquake that hit Mexico and was felt into the states. I live in San Felipe B.C. Mexico which is about 156 miles south of the Mexicali/US border and it was very strong and lasted a long time. The only problem we have at the moment is limited phone and internet service in different areas of town. I will continue to watch CNN for any updates on the earthquake.

    April 5, 2010 at 2:18 am | Report abuse |
  12. Joe

    Still receiving after shocks in El Centro as of 2340 on 4 April...

    April 5, 2010 at 2:37 am | Report abuse |
  13. tracy rico

    please let me know how bad los cabos was hit my daughter and grandchildren live there.

    April 5, 2010 at 3:51 am | Report abuse |
  14. Steve

    We felt the quake here in San Bernardino too. Water sloshing in the pool. No damage. Scared the dog.

    April 5, 2010 at 4:23 am | Report abuse |
  15. tom

    I live in Green Valley Az and felt it. Never felt one before

    April 6, 2010 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
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