5.4-Magnitude Quake Rattles Baja California

A moderate earthquake rocked Baja California in Mexico late Friday night, shutting down factories near the U.S. border and leaving 400,000 people without power, authorities said.

However, no major damage or injuries were reported.

The quake that struck at about 11:12 p.m. Friday had a preliminary magnitude of 5.4, said Jessica Sigala, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Golden, Co.

It was centered 16 miles southeast of the border town of Mexicali and about 100 miles east of Tijuana.

"It has been felt pretty widely in Southern California, southwestern Arizona and probably northern Mexico," Sigala said.

It was followed by at least 25 aftershocks, including four with preliminary magnitudes of 3.8, 3.6, 3.5 and 3.0.

The quake left about 400,000 people without electricity and 1.2 million without cellular telephone service, said Fire Capt. Rene Rosado, director of civil defense in Mexicali.

About 80,000 workers were evacuated or were unable to enter local factories for Sony, Honeywell and other major corporations that typically run 24 hours a day until the buildings could be checked for damage, he said.

Two bridges showed 2- to 3-inch cracks and were closed until
engineers could determine they were safe, he said.

The Baja peninsula is a geologically active region. In 2006, a magnitude-5.4 temblor struck the Mexicali area but there were no injuries or damage.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-02-09-08 1155EST


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