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Mexicali earthquake upgraded to 7.2; aftershocks reported [Updated]

April 4, 2010 |  5:05 pm

Map of shaking intensity. This map shows the estimated Modified Mercalli Intensity (MMI) as a continuous color scale.The earthquake that struck near Mexicali this afternoon was upgraded to a preliminary magnitude of 7.2, but there were no reports of major damage or injuries in San Diego or Los Angeles. There have also been several aftershocks in the last hour.

[Updated, 5:09 p.m.:  Information about quake damage in Mexico remains sketchy. According to Reuters, there have been reports of people trapped in elevators, collapsed retaining walls and power outages in and around Mexicali.  Telephone lines were down and items fell off of shelves and bookcases, according to reports.

In San Diego County, officials said no injuries have been reported so far.  But authorities are looking into reports of shattered glass and items falling off of shelves.]

The Los Angeles Fire Department said their preliminary inspections of major infrastructure -- such as tall buildings, freeway bridges and stadiums -- found no problems.

"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," the LAFD said in a statement.

San Diego County officials also said they found no significant damage. There were reports of people stuck in elevators. LAFD officials said they found broken elevators -- but no one stuck inside. Rides were temporarily closed at the Disneyland theme park in Anaheim.

The temblor struck at 3:40 p.m. about 108 miles east of Tijuana. In Los Angeles, the shaking lasted for several seconds.

Jeniffer Haynie, 59, of Hemet was sitting by the side of her bed reading the newspaper and got up when the ground began moving.

“When it first started it felt like I was on a roller coaster,” Hayne said in a phone interview. “It slowed down, then it picked up even faster for about a minute.”

As the ground shook, she said, she grabbed her Brussels griffon, Chewbacca, and told him to hang on. The quake lasted for about a minute, Hayne said. “That’s a long time for an earthquake,” she said.

This part of Baja California -- near Mexicali -- has experienced regular seismic activity -- mostly small quakes but also some strong ones. Guadalupe Victoria has recorded numerous minor quakes in the last few weeks.

Caltech seismologists were still studying the details of the temblor, trying to connect it to a specific fault. They said it's possible that the quake was so large it ruptured all the way into California.

Hundreds of people so far have reported it on the "Did You Feel It" reporting system at the U.S. Geological Survey.

-- Ruben Vives, Rong-Gong Lin II and Shelby Grad in Los Angeles, Richard Winton in Pasadena and Tony Perry in San Diego

Shaking intensity map. USGS