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Swarm of quakes rattles region

More than two dozen temblors are recorded Monday night, the largest a magnitude 5.7 that could be felt throughout L.A. County. Experts say they were aftershocks of the 7.2 quake on April 4.

June 15, 2010|By Tony Perry and Robert J. Lopez, Los Angeles Times

Perry reported from San Diego —

More than two dozen earthquakes struck Monday night near the U.S-Mexico border in San Diego County, rocking a large swath of Southern California, prompting a momentary shutdown of the San Diego Padres game but causing no apparent major damage, officials said.

The largest of the quakes — a 5.7 magnitude temblor — was recorded at 9:26 p.m, the U.S. Geological Survey said. It could be felt throughout Los Angeles County.

That quake was centered five miles southeast of Ocotillo in San Diego County and 16 miles east-northeast of Jacumba in eastern San Diego County, the survey agency said. The other quakes — ranging from 1.0 to 4.1 magnitude — were also concentrated in the same general area, according to the survey agency.

The earthquakes were all aftershocks of a 7.2-quake that rocked Mexico's Baja California peninsula April 4, according to experts.

"I don't think it's that unusual," Thomas Jordan, director of the Southern California Earthquake Center at USC, said of the series of quakes that rattled that region Monday.

He noted that the northern end of the fault where the Mexican quake struck has been very active in recent months. "It's been especially rich at the north end of the fault," Jordan said.

Unlike the April 4 quake — which killed at least one person and buckled roads in the twin border cities of Mexicali and Calexico — the swarm of quakes Monday night caused no major damage, authorities said.

Kate Hutton, a seismologist at Caltech in Pasadena, said a 5.7 magnitude quake "is big enough to get your attention" but usually will not cause major structural damage because of California's building codes.

The jolt from the 5.7 magnitude temblor was especially strong in San Diego, where officials halted the game between the Padres and the Toronto Blue Jays for several minutes in the 8th inning at Petco Park.

The announcer called for calm, the crowd cheered and the game resumed. Television announcer Dick Enberg joked that the quake may have moved home plate because the Blue Jays were having trouble throwing strikes in the 9th inning.

tony.perry@latimes.com

robert.lopez@latimes.com

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