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Quake shakes Mexico, California; little damage reported

TIJUANA, Mexico - A strong earthquake struck in Baja California, Mexico, yesterday, rocking buildings and panicking residents as far away as Tijuana and Los Angeles, but only minor damage was reported.

The 7.2-magnitude quake struck at 3:40 p.m. in a lightly populated area of Baja California, Mexico, about 19 miles southeast of the city of Mexicali on the U.S. border, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The quake, which was centered only 6.2 miles below ground, was initially reported as being a magnitude-6.9. The updated magnitude was still an estimate, according to USGS seismologist Lucy Jones.

Some people were reported trapped in elevators, retaining walls had collapsed in some places and electricity was out in several parts of Baja California, said the director of the Mexican state's emergency services.

Telephone communications were cut off with Mexicali.

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.

A witness in Tijuana, about 135 miles away from the epicenter, said cars in a parking lot outside of a building could be seen jolting with the quake and a computer on her desk shook during the temblor.

"I'm shaking like a leaf . . . the pool water was just going everywhere," said Jean Nelson in Indio, Calif., outside of Palm Springs, about 120 miles away from the epicenter.

The quake was also felt about 200 miles northwest in Los Angeles, witnesses said.- Combined news reports

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