Swarm of quakes rattle San Diego County

Epicenter in the desert near Anza

SAN DIEGO - A magnitude-4.7 earthquake rattled the San Diego area on Monday, jostling homes and businesses but causing no reported injuries and only minor damage.

The temblor, which struck at 9:55 a.m., was centered 12 miles east-southeast of Anza in Riverside County, 14 miles southwest of La Quinta and 16 miles south-southwest of Palm Desert, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The quake was originally reported as large as a magnitude-5.2, but was downgraded a short time later by the USGS. The initial shaker was followed by aftershocks in the area. One quake in Pine Valley measured a magnitude-2.5.

Geologist Pat Abbott, Ph.D., told 10News Monday's earthquakes were "unusual because there were three movements of identical size on the same fault."

Abbott said three separate quakes were reported on the San Jacinto fault line, which runs into the San Andreas Fault. He noted the San Jacinto fault line merges with the San Andreas Fault within the city limits of San Bernardino.

Abbott said the initial magnitude reading of 5.2 was generated by a computer, but was later downgraded after experts evaluated the data. Abbott said he doesn't usually expect earthquakes in the 4s to generate serious damage.

The ground movement was stronger in eastern areas of San Diego County, and many people in coastal communities did not feel it at all, public-safety officials said.

10News viewers reported feeling the earthquake throughout San Diego County including in Valley Center, Alpine, Poway, Brawley and Point Loma.

"We started to hear the sound and feel the rumble. It almost felt like the house was suspended, like lifted up and suspended for a moment. Then, of course, we heard the sound … I didn't feel too much of a violent shake," said Crest resident Dennis.

His 11-year-old son was sick, home from school, when he felt it from his bunk bed.

"[He was] a little scared; [had a] confused look. He wanted to know what had happened, of course we ran outside to see if the world had stopped. It did. There's people doing landscaping and things like that and everything got quiet for a minute," Dennis said.

Mitzi Poulin, who works in Borrego Springs, told 10News the quake was a short, quick jolt that she barely felt.

"It sounded like my guy slammed the door at our storage area where the wine is. I didn't feel it. I heard it," said Poulin, who works at Center Market.

Poulin said it felt like two seconds of shaking.

Claudia from Barrio Logan told 10News she felt it from her home, but her friend felt it even stronger.

"Mine was just a little bit of a swing, just a little bit," said Claudia.

Claudia was on the phone with a friend who was near the beach. Her friend said the quake felt like "two people were on the car, jerking it around."

Quiana Matthews was in her office in downtown San Diego. 

"A little bit of swaying back and forth, the lights above us were moving a little bit," she told 10News.

She wondered, "Is this going to be it? Will it get any stronger? … If we need to move or anything else happened? But it was pretty quick and that was that."

Dameon Ditto also works downtown. 

"I felt a little shaking, didn't think it was that big," he said.

Damage was minimal. The globe on a ceiling fan dropped and broke. 

Nick Ives did not know what to think. He is visiting from the Midwest and staying on the eighth floor of a downtown hotel. 

"I felt the whole bed start moving, looked over and the ottoman on the side of the bed was moving," he said. "I felt it, didn't know what it was. I'm from Michigan."

Heather Crank knew, as did her cat. 

"Just jumped up on the bed, didn't move, kind of paralyzed and that's when I heard a pop or crack… movement, then the building started shaking," she said.

The chimes on Helen Flaster's grandfather clock started going crazy, as did her animals. She has many, including horses and a pig. 

"He was standing up, very scared and alert," said Flaster. "One of my goats is a fainting goat. When he gets scared, he gets really stiff, so he was stiff.  Dogs were barking. Birds stopped singing."

Nicole Smith was knitting and worried about stained glass hanging from the ceiling. 

"Those were waving back and forth… little blue one starting to spin," said Smith. "Mirror went tilt, this picture went tilt. Fringe on the lamp was dancing."

Falling bottles were a fear at the Holiday Wine Cellar in Escondido. Employee Rick Castro told 10News, "Store started shaking a little bit… you could hear the bottles rattling."

Mark Hodges ran out of his office and saw there was no damage.

"I went downstairs to the wine cellar to check it out, make sure no high-end stuff fell over," he said.

During an earlier quake, there was a $3,500 bottle of scotch at risk.

"We had one big earthquake where one of the bottles tipped over and was leaning on the glass itself so it was almost like booby-trapped to where if you opened the door, it might break it," he said.

North County Transit District officials said the northbound Coaster was delayed by 15 to 20 minutes due to the quake.

Monday's temblor in Southern California hit on the same day as Japan is marking the second anniversary of the massive earthquake and tsunami that struck the country in 2011.

Abbott said the quake's location and magnitude was too low to form any significant tsunami in the Southern California region.

Mike Lee with the San Diego County Water Authority said there was no damage caused to county water systems by the earthquake.

Lee said there is a system of cameras and sensors at major facilities to spot problems, but no issues were detected Monday.

Sensors at dams and pipes that measure water pressure and changes did not detect anything out of the ordinary.

The sheriff's department urges residents to be vigilant about earthquake preparedness. More information and tips can be found on www.readysandiego.org.

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