The Mexicali earthquake that struck the California-Mexico border area at 3:40 p.m. Pacific Time Sunday spawned widespread reports of shaking chandeliers and sloshing pools in the Los Angeles area, but no immediate indications of major damage.
The earthquake, which was centered about 108 miles east of Tijuana, Mexico, some 10 miles below the surface appeared to have caused some more significant damage nearer the border, including one report of a death in Mexico, but officials were still gathering information.
The shaking lasted for 35 to 55 seconds, said Lucy Jones, a seismologist at Cal Tech, at a press conference. The 7.2-magnitude quake is the largest in Southern California since the 7.3 Landers quake on June 28, 1992, she said.
Dr. Jones called the depth of the temblor “normal for this region,” adding that 16,000 people had reported the quake on Cal Tech’s network of “did you feel it” websites. She predicted that a magnitude 6.0 aftershock would be “likely within the next few days.”
Viewers throughout the Los Angeles are were sending in photos of convenience store shelves that had spilled their contents, telephone lines down, and traffic lights knocked out. One video pulled back from a shaking chandelier to reveal a full table laden with a feast for Easter Sunday, with several family members sitting calmly.
The shaking was felt from Santa Barbara, Calif. – where some power outages have been reported – to Phoenix. Aftershocks of 4.0 to 4.3 have been reported as far north as Sonoma County near the San Francisco Bay Area.
By 6:10 p.m. Pacific Time, the local Los Angeles ABC-TV affiliate said there were no injuries or major damage reported. City and rural police and fire departments from Los Angeles to Phoenix were investigating several reports of shattered glass and collapsed cement walls. The Los Angeles Fire Department reported that their preliminary inspections of tall buildings, freeway bridges, and stadiums, found no problems.
There were numerous reports of broken elevators, and rides at Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, Calif., were temporarily shut down. Cardinal Mahoney, after giving Easter mass in Our Lady of Angels cathedral in Los Angeles told Channel 2 CBS news that the cathedral’s 45 chandeliers – all 120 feet high – “were swaying pretty strongly.”
Cal Tech's Jones said she hoped the temblor would be a wakeup call for earthquake preparedness – for people to get an adequate supply of drinking water, enough food for three to four days, and to do “common sense” things like taking down glass picture frames. More people are hurt by falling objects within a house than by houses falling down, she said.
• Monitor staff reporter Gloria Goodale contributed to this report.