A 7.2 magnitude earthquake has hit the peninsula of Baja California, killing at least two persons and causing tremors as far away as Nevada. The quake struck at 1540 (2240 GMT), 26km (16 miles) south-west of Guadalupe Victoria in Baja California, at a depth of 32km, said the US Geological Survey. Some people are still trapped in their homes in the city of Mexicali, where a state of emergency has been declared. It was the worst quake to hit the region for many years, officials said. The US Geological Survey said some 20 million people felt tremors from the largest quake to hit the area since 1992. Mexican civil protection officials said a man had died when his home collapsed outside Mexicali, near the earthquake’s epicenter. Rescue teams with digging equipment and sniffer dogs have been dispatched to the worst-affected areas of Mexicali from the nearby city of Tijuana. The government in Mexico’s Baja California declared a state of emergency in Mexicali, a city of about 900,00 people. The quake caused buildings to sway in Tijuana, where Easter celebrations were interrupted as families rushed for open ground. Some parts of Baja California had seen power cuts, officials there said.
The Baja California Earthquake was an earthquake of 7.2 magnitude on the moment magnitude scale that started 16 miles (26 km) south of Guadalupe Victoria, Baja California (municipality of Mexicali), Mexico, at a depth of 6.2 miles (10.0 km). It occurred at 22:40 UTC (1540 local time) on Easter Sunday, April 4, 2010, and it is said to have lasted about a minute. The strongest shaking was felt in Alberto Oviedo Mota at Mercalli intensity scale VIII (Severe). In Mexicali, Calexico and Guadalupe Victoria it rated VII (Very Strong), while in San Luis Río Colorado it measured VI (Strong). At least two people were killed and 100 people were injured.
In Los Angeles the shaking lasted for about a minute and US firefighters were called out to inspect roads, bridges and power-lines. The LA Fire Department had also responded to a number of automatic alarms and people being stuck in lifts, reports said. Rides were temporarily suspended at the Disneyland theme park in California.
People spoke of the “surreal” swaying of buildings for up to a minute, a witness from Palm Springs in California said it was “the most powerful earthquake I have ever felt”.
Another one, in Los Angeles, said: “Everyone stopped talking in the restaurant and the overhead lights started swaying back and forth. It wasn’t violent, just unreal. It felt like the whole earth was swaying.”
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