5.1 Aftershock Strikes Baja After Deadly 7.2 Magnitude Earthquake

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LOS ANGELES -- A moderate aftershock rattled northern Baja California Friday, days after the area was struck by a deadly magnitude-7.2 earthquake on Easter Sunday.

The magnitude-5.1 aftershock struck 36 miles south of Mexicali at 4:05 p.m. Friday. No damages have been reported, but the area continues to suffer from numerous aftershocks.

Just a day earlier, another magnitude 5.3 aftershock struck about 30 miles south of Mexicali around 9:45 a.m Thursday, causing one building's roof to collapse and minor damage to other buildings

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger toured the U.S border city of Calexico Thursday morning, but his spokesman says he left before the aftershock.

On Monday, Schwarzenegger proclaimed a state of emergency for Imperial County, which suffered the brunt of the U.S. damage from the Easter Sunday's quake.

At least two deaths and some 100 injuries are being blamed on the powerful temblor. Both deaths occurred in Mexico.

A 94-year-old man was killed when a wall collapsed in his home in the city, and homeless man died when the abandoned home he was living in collapsed in a farming community, Mexican officials said.

Civil protection authorities said Sunday that another man died when he ran into the street in panic and was struck by a car, but the government did not count him among the earthquake victims Monday.

There were no reports of U.S. deaths. A spokeswoman for Imperial County's emergency operations said two people were injured and one was listed in critical condition. No further details were provided.


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The declaration by Gov. Schwarzenegger will free up state resources to aid the recovery effort.

Businesses in Calexico -- the U.S. area hit hardest -- were guarded by police Sunday night after the quake damaged pre-war buildings not updated to handle strong quakes, Calexico police Lt. Gonzalo Gerardo said.

"Downtown is going to remain closed until further notice," he said.

By Monday morning, 80-percent of the historic downtown area had been red tagged.

City Manager Victor Carrillo said the damage would easily total millions of dollars.

City officials, under a state of emergency, asked residents to limit water use to essential bathing, cooking and washing.

Mexicali was the hardest hit area overall, where reports included structural damage, broken windows, leaking gas lines, loss of water services, and loss of electricity in portions of Northern Mexico.

At least 45 businesses and dozens of homes were destroyed there.

In the farming town of Guadalupe Victoria, the epicenter of the quake, roads were buckled by moist soil and some crevices were several feet wide.

Scientists say the human toll was minimal in large part because the energy from the quake moved northwest of Mexicali toward a less populated area.

The quake struck about 6 miles below the earth's surface at 3:40 p.m. PT Easter Sunday, about 110 miles east-southeast of Tijuana, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Several hundred aftershocks have been recorded since the quake, with the largest registering magnitude-5.7.

"This is the largest earthquake since the [7.3 magnitude] Landers earthquake of 1992," Dr. Lucy Jones of Caltech said. "A 7.2 is going to happen over a pretty long fault, probably close to 50 miles long."

Scientists believe the quake originated on the Laguna Salada fault, which has not produced a major temblor in more than a century, according to preliminary data.

The last time the fault unleashed a similar-sized quake was in 1892.

It has since produced occasional magnitude 5 earthquakes.

According to reports, the force from Sunday's temblor caused high-rise buildings in San Diego to sway back and forth around 30 seconds before rocking high-rise buildings in downtown Los Angeles.

Caltech officials reported that over 20 million people felt shaking related to the 7.2 magnitude earthquake.

Strong shaking was reportedly felt as far away as Las Vegas, Nevada and Yuma, Arizona.

According to Jones, it was "reasonably likely" that the area could see even more "triggered earthquakes" around magnitude 6.0 in the days following the quake.

The Los Angeles Fire Department dispatched forces for a complete survey of 470 square miles in the greater Los Angeles area to examine transportation infrastructures.

All fire stations completed their district drive through assessment with no significant damage or injuries reported. LAFD had slight increase in 911 call load mostly associated with automatic alarms and stuck elevators. "No significant damage or injuries reported," said LAFD spokesperson Eric Scott.

All rides at Disneyland were shut down to be checked for damage, as standard procedure after any earthquake. They were operating again by Sunday night and the park remained open all day.

The LAFD reported several instances of people being trapped in elevators, including a woman trapped on the 9th floor of a building at 10250 W. Constellation Boulevard in Century City , according to Scott.

A water main burst in the area of Elysian Fields, but it was not immediately known whether it was related to Sunday afternoon's temblor.

More than 5,000 Southern California Edison customers were affected following the shaking, mostly with about 30 seconds of flickering lights.

According to the USGS, the same area where Sunday's quake struck has been experiencing quakes around magnitude-3.0 sporadically throughout the week.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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