Sunday, April 4, 2010 at 22:40:39 UTC
Sunday, April 4, 2010 at 15:40:39 Local
By CHRISTOPHER WEBER, Associated Press Writer Christopher Weber, Associated Press Writer – 27 mins ago
LOS ANGELES – Seismologists have raised the preliminary magnitude of an earthquake in northern Baja California from 6.9 to 7.2.
U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Lucy Jones says the new magnitude of the 3:40 p.m. Sunday earthquake is still an estimate.
The quake centered south of California's border with Mexico was widely felt, swaying buildings as far away as San Diego, Los Angeles and Arizona.
There has been no confirmed damage, but some power outages were reported in southern Arizona and Tijuana, Mexico. Jones says any damage would likely have occurred closer to the epicenter such as in the Mexican city of Mexicali or in U.S. border cities.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A strong earthquake south of the U.S.-Mexico border Sunday swayed high-rises in downtown Los Angeles and San Diego and was felt across Southern California and Arizona, but there were no immediate reports of major damage.
The 6.9 magnitude quake struck at 3:40 p.m. in Baja California, Mexico, about 19 miles southeast of Mexicali, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The area was hit by magnitude-3.0 quakes all week.
The quake was felt as far north as Santa Barbara, USGS seismologist Susan Potter said.
Strong shaking was reported in the Coachella Valley and Riverside, Calif. The earthquake rattled buildings on the west side of Los Angeles and in the San Fernando Valley, interrupting Easter dinners. Chandeliers swayed and wine jiggled in glasses.
In Los Angeles, the city fire department went on "earthquake status," and some stalled elevators were reported. No damage was reported in Los Angeles or San Diego.
One woman called firefighters and said she was stuck in an elevator descending from the 34th floor in a building in Century City, but there was no way to immediately know if the breakdown was tied the quake, Los Angeles firefighter Eric Scott said.
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power says there are no power outages anywhere in the city, spokeswoman Maryanne Pierson said.
The quake was felt for about 40 seconds in Tijuana, Mexico, causing buildings to sway and knocking out power in parts of the city. Families celebrating Easter ran out of the homes, with children screaming and crying.
Baja California state Civil Protection Director Alfredo Escobedo said there were no immediate reports of injuries or major damage. But he said the assessment was ongoing.
In the Phoenix area, Jacqueline Land said her king-sized bed in her second-floor apartment felt like a boat gently swaying on the ocean.
"I thought to myself, 'That can't be an earthquake. I'm in Arizona,'" the Northern California native said. "And I thought, 'Oh my God, I feel like I'm 9 years old.'"
A police dispatcher in Yuma, Ariz., said the quake was very strong there, but no damage was reported. The Yuma County Sheriff's Office had gotten a few calls, mostly from alarm companies because of alarms going off.
Mike Wong, who works at a journalism school in downtown Phoenix, said he was in his second-floor office getting some work done Sunday afternoon when he heard sounds and felt the building start to sway.
"I heard some cracking sounds, like Rice Krispies," coming from the building, he said. "I didn't think much of it, but I kept hearing it, and then I started feeling a shake. I thought, 'You know what? I think that might be an earthquake."
Wong said the swaying lasted for "just a few seconds," and he didn't notice any damage.
An earthquake also hit in Northern California Sunday afternoon. The U.S. Geological Survey says a quake with a preliminary magnitude of 4.0 was recorded at 3:49 p.m. about 25 miles north of Santa Rosa.
A dispatcher with the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department said the agency had not received any calls for service after the quake.
Associated Press Writers Andrew Dalton and John Antczak in Los Angeles, John S. Marshall in San Francisco, and Matt Reed and Katie Oyan in Phoenix contributed to this report.