Quake near Mexican border shakes San Diego area

A magnitude-5.8 earthquake in northern Baja California shook buildings along the US-Mexico boundary.


Elliot Spagat
December 31, 2009 12:34AM (UTC)

A magnitude-5.8 earthquake in northern Baja California rocked the U.S.-Mexico border region Wednesday, causing buildings to sway more than 100 miles to the west in downtown San Diego.

The main quake was centered about 20 miles southeast of the Mexican border city of Mexicali, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It was followed quickly by a 4.9 quake and other aftershocks.

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San Diego County sheriff's Lt. Anthony Ray said there were no immediate reports of damage or injury.

There was no immediate information from Mexicali or authorities on the U.S. side of the border in Imperial County. Phone circuits were busy just after the quake.

Two smaller quakes preceded the main shock, which was initially reported at magnitude-5.9 before being downgraded slightly.

Julie Dutton, a geophysicist with the USGS, said the area is seismically active.

"It's definitely nothing that's unusual," she said.

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The quake occurred 4.3 miles deep and is considered shallow. Shallower quakes have the potential to cause more damage than deeper ones, Dutton said.


Elliot Spagat

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