Very strong earthquake at a safe distance out of the coast shakes Southern California and Northern Mexico

Last update: December 15, 2012 at 12:28 pm by By

Earthquake overview : People along the coast of Southern California and Northern Mexico  were surprised during the early nightly hours by a very strong earthquake. The epicenter was luckily approx. 140 km into the Pacific. Nothing dangerous but certainly frightening. 
Tell us when you think you have felt this earthquake.
California-only earthquake list

Most recent information on top – Start of the article at the bottom – With the collaboration of Carlos Robles

We are happy to print the testimony of a ER reader living in Costa mesa to describe the feeling of living through another California earthquake again. It describes also why this site exists. Thank you Lara !
The earthquake on Dec 14 at 2:36am PST woke me up and scared me. I’m in Costa Mesa on the boarder of Santa Ana, close to South Coast Plaza! I sent a text to a girlfriend, “earthquake”, and then another text, “scared” (2:37am)! It’s just I’ve been in too many earthquakes and am always frightened when my bed shakes, even when its just a single jolt…cause I always anticipate there may be more to come. Unfortunately, I was visiting Istanbul, Turkey when the Ismit earthquake hit on Aug 17, 1999, a 7.2 magnitude that killed around 17,000 people and I can honestly say I thought I was going to die in that one and was greatly traumatized. I had to live outside for 5 days after that earthquake because people were too scared to go back into their homes. When I did go back into the apt where I was staying in there was a crack in the wall next to my bed and that was on the 8th floor of a new modern high-rise. For 6 months thereafter I was dizzy all the time…I would have to stop in the shopping mall and try to gain balance because it felt like my head was disconnected from my body. Now I can no longer enjoy theme park rides, even though I use to love them; like all the rides at magic mountain. I am now forever changed and I just pray we get some warning as to when to expect the big one here in CA. I do not feel prepared, as in have all the proper supplies: water, etc. So I’m going to have to get to work on that! I’ll take this as a reminder!

Update 13:54 UTC : People who have subscribed to our Regional California Only Twitter feed @Quake_TrackerCA , will not have received the M6.4 earthquake notification (the afterwards deleted M6.1 was indeed reported). After analysing the location of the epicenter, we found out that it was to the south of the region we had included. We have updated our system to also include this area as it was felt well in Southern California. We encourage our California Twitter users to tell us these things themselves via a reply to @Quake_trackerCA or by commenting in our website.

Update 13:49 UTC : After analysing the data of our EAAS (Early Earthquake Alerting System) which currently runs in the background, an alert was triggered only 3 minutes after the start of the earthquake. The system runs in testing mode at the moment and will be implemented in the site in no later than 30 to 60 days. It will work on a worldwide scale.

Update 12:41 UTC : The first aftershocks are rattling the epicenter area, but due to distance from the coast people are not feeling it.

Update 12:27 UTC : We do see our Californian readers gradually returning to their beds for hopefully a shake-free night

Update 12:26 UTC : USGS has further updated their data  to M6.3 instead of the initial M6.4

Update 12:22 UTC : We will transfer the content of this article towards a special in-depth article for this earthquake. Let’s hope that the other seismic zones in the area (including the San Andreas fault) have not been influenced by the shaking waves and all remains calm the rest of the night and day.
We want to thank our many California users to send us their Experiences almost immediately after the earthquake occurred.


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Important Update 12:05 UTC: USGS has removed the 6.1 earthquake from the charts! The 6.3M earthquake still remains but luckily this is safer as the epicenter was 262km off the coast.

Update 11:45 UTC : Max. shaking (mainly because of the depth) IV MMI at the coastal cities.

Update: Following the earthquakes, we saw some reports coming from the USGS including a 3.5 Magnitude in Utah and a 4.2 in Southern California, those are FALSE POSITIVES this means that the earthquakes didn’t actually happen and were only a computer generated report.
142km (88mi) SW of Avalon, California
173km (107mi) SSW of Rancho Palos Verdes, California
177km (110mi) SW of San Pedro, California
179km (111mi) SSW of Palos Verdes Estates, California

Two strong earthquakes just hit far off the California – Baja  California coast, the first one being a 6.3 at a depth of 10km and 262km from land, the second one with a magnitude of 6.1 at a depth of 11 km and closer but still not dangerous distance of 142km. Both earthquakes are preliminary magnitudes. Theorical calculations from the USGS are showing that 1,735,000 people would have felt a IV shaking on the mercalli scale (light shaking) for the second earthquake, this shaking includes the cities of Rancho Palos Verdes and Long Beach, California; and a II-III (Weak shaking) for at least 9 millon people including the cities of Los Angeles, Anaheim, Santa Ana and Riverside.
This earthquakes are harmless and should create no damage, a tsunami can’t be generated.

Most important Earthquake Data:
Magnitude : 6.3
UTC Time : 2012-12-14 10:36:02 UTC
Local time at epicenter : 2012-12-14 02:36:02 UTC-08:00 at epicenter
Depth (Hypocenter) : 11.3 km or 7 miles
Geo-location(s) :
142km (88mi) SW of Avalon, California
173km (107mi) SSW of Rancho Palos Verdes, California
177km (110mi) SW of San Pedro, California
179km (111mi) SSW of Palos Verdes Estates, California

Links to important maps
USGS Did You Feel It Map
Google satellite map showing the epicenter and the surrounding area
Historic earthquakes map
Shaking map
Scientific parameters
Human impact map
NOAA tsunami report

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SRC Location UTC Date/time M D INFO
USGS Southern California Dec 14 23:34 3.5 2 MAP I Felt It
USGS Off The West Coast Of Baja California Dec 14 17:40 3.2 7 MAP I Felt It
USGS Off The West Coast Of Baja California Dec 14 17:39 3.5 6 MAP I Felt It
USGS Offshore Baja California, Mexico Dec 14 13:10 2.9 32 MAP I Felt It
USGS Southern California Dec 14 10:50 4.1 50 MAP I Felt It
EMSC Off W. Coast Of Baja California Dec 14 10:50 4.7 10 MAP I Felt It
GEOFON Off W Coast Of Baja California Dec 14 10:50 5.2 10 MAP I Felt It
USGS Off The Coast Of California Dec 14 10:50 4.7 9 MAP I Felt It
USGS Off The Coast Of California Dec 14 10:36 6.1 11 MAP I Felt It
GEOFON Off W Coast Of Baja California Dec 14 10:36 6.4 20 MAP I Felt It
EMSC Off W. Coast Of Baja California Dec 14 10:36 6.4 10 MAP I Felt It
USGS Off The West Coast Of Baja California Dec 14 10:36 6.3 11 MAP I Felt It
USGS Off The West Coast Of Baja California Dec 14 10:36 6.4 20 MAP I Felt It
  • Riverside, ca - it lasted for maybe 20 seconds and was strong to make shake a chair I was sitting on for the first 8 sec or so
  • San Diego - felt light shaking
  • Escondido ca - Just felt the bed rocking back and forth for a quite a while actually didn't wake me since I was already up felt good
  • Anaheim - Slow smooth whirlpool rolling shake
  • Aliso Viejo, CA - My appt rolled on 3rd floor about 15-20 min ago for about 15 sec felt like an earthquake
  • Coronado, CA - Light shaking...lights swaying, plate rattled...
  • Santee, CA - A light shaking woke me up.
  • Tijuana - Duro como 2, 3 segundos
  • San Diego, Ocean Beach, CA 92107 - Been through many, this was the longest feeling one, My 2nd story 100 year old apt, the floor swayed and twisted.
  • Escondido, Ca - PMC Downtown, we felt it !! Night Shift L&D Staff Escondido, Ca.
  • Hillcrest - Strong!Seemed long
  • Tijuana - Woke me up
  • Pasadena, ca - Furniture , office , the whole room shook and swayed back and forth , right to left ( sideways )
  • Inglewood - It was crazy it didnt wake me up, my dog did
  • Barrio Logan - Lasted like 7 seconds.i thought the devil was under my bed to kidnap my soul.
  • Pico Rivera, ca - Suttle sway and shake. Lamp and windows shook
  • Coronado - Felt the shaking for about couple of seconds .
  • San Diego - Bed swaying .... Long shaking - 100 yr old warehouse lofts next to Santa Fe train station - it still feels like there is movement 20 min. later.
  • La jolla, San Diego - Items in home rattling, enough to wake me up.
  • Coronado - Nothing fell off walls but certainly the house shook
  • Point Loma - Woken up from sleep
  • Coronado - Rolling...not shaking. Enough to awaken family
  • LaJolla Ca - Probably would not wake anyone but I was awake gently shaking. Approx time was 0215
  • Spring Valley, CA - I'm upstairs so felt a little shaking. My hubby 2 blocks away on a house with foundation felt slight rolling.
  • San Diego, ca - Bed shaking woke me up. Heard small decorative items rattling. Sliding door was shaking. Lasted about a quick 10secs
  • El Cajon - I thought something was under my bed
  • San Diego, ca - Light swaying things on wall rattling made me nervous can't go back to sleep
  • Pacific Beach, San Diego - Bed shaking slightly, enough to wake me up, but not my roommate who is still asleep.
  • Anaheim - Was awake for odd reason then started feeling the earthquake. Was pretty frightened ... I hope the world doesn't really end :
  • Chula Vista, CA. - (o.O
  • Spring Valley Ca - Woke me up.
  • Scrips ranch - Woke up from light shaking
  • Temecula, CA - Time posted is an estimate. Guessing about 2:00 am 12/14. Sharp jolts then pause, followed by moderate to light shakes.
  • Rancho Bernardo, San Diego - Was laying in bed as it started, wad pretty long. Woke both my parents up n I got pretty scared to even get up...
  • Spring valley - Thought I was having a paranormal expierince. My dog was spooked and my bed was shaking a lot!
  • El Cajon, Ca - Woke me up. Windows rattling. Felt rolling sensation. Aftershock about five minutes later. Less strong and of less duration.
  • Spring Valley - It got my attention!
  • Pacific Beach, San Diego - Started light and got stronger and it seemed like lated a long time, scary
  • Escondido - aside from the 2010 Easter quake, this was the longest, strongest quake i've felt. Felt like a good 10-20 seconds of continuous rolling AND shaking.
  • Rancho Bernardo - Happened to be awake and heard house creaking.
  • Ocean Beach, San Diego, CA - My couch shook, the hanging objects in my living room were swaying, my cats were startled, and all of my neighbor's wind chimes made noise. It lasted only a few seconds.
  • Ocean Beach - Time is approximate. Couch shook, hanging objects in my living room were swaying, cats were startled, and my neighbor's wind chimes all made a lot of noise.
  • La Mesa - Bed rattled and felt it until it gradually stopped for about 7 - 10 seconds.
  • North Pacific beach - Screen door rattled and most of bed/desk were shaking. Woke me up
  • La Mesa - It was brief, but strong. All at once everything in my room began to sway (not violent shaking or sounds to pre warn). Talk about equilibrium being messed with! L*
  • Tijuana - Nice movement down south...
  • San Diego - Bad shaking woke me up
  • Fontana, Ca - Sitting during break at work and felt light rolling for about 5 seconds...
  • Pt Loma - Enough to wake me up, one sharp jolt and a little little rolling. nothing further
  • Escondido, CA 92027 - Woke me up and it lasted a good 10-20 seconds ... what a way to welcome me back to California!
  • san diego ca. 92173 - i was sleeping when a movment wake me up. i saw that everything was moving. Ihave been in other earthquake(northrighe,LA,1993) and this one was like 6.0 but didn't last long like 4 sec
  • LAGUNA NIGUEL - I WAS A SLEEPING & A QUICK JOLT WOKE ME, I KNEW IT WAS A QUAKE. IT LASTED ONLY 1 TO 2 SECONDS, I FEEL BACK TO SLEEP AS SOON AS I KNEW IT STOPPED.
  • Oceanside - Woke me up.thought same one walking loudly in the house.
  • Escondido California - I woke up from my sleep to get some water and just a few brief moments after i felt the shaking and heard the rattling of things in my home. I am not positive on the time I felt it because like I stated I had just woke up. I am now at my office at work, and my boss had felt it as well in San Marcos CA
  • Irvine, CA - I live in Irvine, CA. It woke me. Felt the smaller one after shock also.
  • San Diego - Not sure about the time, but the noise of the windows shaking woke me up.
  • Rancho Bernardo - I was asleep and was woken by the shaking. It lasted a few seconds and was pretty strong.
  • San Diego, ca - Woke me. Thought it was my husband!! Guess an aftershock due to time lapse?
  • Chula Vista, CA - Woke us out of sound sleep, bed shaking for several seconds then rolling sensation several times later.
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    Enter Email (not compulsory)
    Country where you felt the earthquake
    City/Village where you felt the earthquake
    Street or suburb (area) where you felt the earthquake
    MMI II (Very weak shaking) ?
    People :
    Felt by persons at rest, on upper floors or favorably placed.
    MMI III (Weak shaking) ?
    People :
    Felt indoors; hanging objects may swing, vibration similar to passing of light trucks, duration may be estimated, may not be recognized as an earthquake.
    MMI IV (Light shaking) ?
    People :
    Generally noticed indoors but not outside. Light sleepers may be awakened. Vibration may be likened to the passing of heavy traffic, or to the jolt of a heavy object falling or striking the building.
    Fittings :
    Doors and windows rattle. Glassware and crockery rattle. Liquids in open vessels may be slightly disturbed. Standing motorcars may rock.
    Structures :
    Walls and frames of buildings, and partitions and suspended ceilings in commercial buildings, may be heard to creak.
    MMI V (Moderate shaking) ?
    People :
    Generally felt outside, and by almost everyone indoors. Most sleepers awakened. A few people alarmed.
    Fittings :
    Small unstable objects are displaced or upset. Some glassware and crockery may be broken. Hanging pictures knock against the wall. Open doors may swing. Cupboard doors secured by magnetic catches may open. Pendulum clocks stop, start, or change rate.
    Structures :
    Some large display windows cracked. A few earthenware toilet fixtures cracked.
    MMI VI (Strong shaking) ?
    People Felt by all. People and animals alarmed. Many run outside. Difficulty experienced in walking steadily.
    Fittings :
    Objects fall from shelves. Pictures fall from walls. Some furniture moved on smooth floors, some unsecured free-standing fireplaces moved. Glassware and crockery broken. Very unstable furniture overturned. Small church and school bells ring. Appliances move on bench or table tops. Filing cabinets or "easy glide" drawers may open (or shut).
    Structures :
    Slight damage to buildings with low standard. Some stucco or cement plaster falls. Large display windows broken. Damage to a few weak domestic chimneys, some may fall.
    Environment :
    Trees and bushes shake, or are heard to rustle. Loose material may be dislodged from sloping ground, e.g. existing slides, talus slopes, shingle slides.
    MMI VII (Very strong shaking) ?
    People
    General alarm. Difficulty experienced in standing. Noticed by motorcar drivers who may stop.
    Fittings :
    Large bells ring. Furniture moves on smooth floors, may move on carpeted floors. Substantial damage to fragile contents of buildings.
    Structures :
    Unreinforced stone and brick walls cracked. Low standard buildings cracked with some minor masonry falls. A few instances of damage to buildings of ordinary workmanship. Unbraced parapets, unbraced brick gables, and architectural ornaments fall. Roofing tiles, especially ridge tiles may be dislodged. Many unreinforced domestic chimneys damaged, often falling from roof-line. Water tanks Type I burst. A few instances of damage to brick veneers and plaster or cement-based linings. Unrestrained water cylinders (hot-water cylinders) may move and leak. Some common windows cracked. Suspended ceilings damaged.
    Environment :
    Water made turbid by stirred up mud. Small slides such as falls of sand and gravel banks, and small rock-falls from steep slopes and cuttings. Instances of settlement of unconsolidated or wet, or weak soils. Some fine cracks appear in sloping ground. A few instances of liquefaction (i.e. small water and sand ejections).
    MMI VIII (Severe shaking) ?
    People Alarm may approach panic. Steering of motorcars greatly affected. Structures : Low standard buildings heavily damaged, some collapse. ordinary workmanship buildings damaged, some with partial collapse. Reinforced masonry or concrete buildings damaged in some cases. A few instances of damage to buildings and bridges designed and built to resist earthquakes. Monuments and pre-1976 elevated tanks and factory stacks twisted or brought down. Some pre-1965 infill masonry panels damaged. A few post-1980 brick veneers damaged. Decayed timber piles of houses damaged. Houses not secured to foundations may move. Most unreinforced domestic chimneys damaged, some below roof-line, many brought down. Environment : Cracks appear on steep slopes and in wet ground. Small to moderate slides in roadside cuttings and unsupported excavations. Small water and sand ejections and localized lateral spreading adjacent to streams, canals, lakes, etc.
    MMI IX (Violent shaking) ?
    Structures Many low standard buildings destroyed. Ordinary workmanship buildings heavily damaged, some collapse. Reinforced masonry or concrete buildings damaged, some with partial collapse. Buildings and bridges designed and built to resist earthquakes damaged in some cases, some with flexible frames seriously damaged. Damage or permanent distortion to some buildings and bridges, designed and built to normal use standards. Houses not secured to foundations shifted off. Brick veneers fall and expose frames. Environment : Cracking of ground conspicuous. Landsliding general on steep slopes. Liquefaction effects intensified and more widespread, with large lateral spreading and flow sliding adjacent to streams, canals, lakes, etc.
    Write your experience below + let us know if your property has been damaged (even slight damage) or if you have knowledge of any damage caused by this earthquake. (max. 500 characters)

    Comments

    1. Harold Sharpe says:

      I was thinking about an earthquake widget for southern california on some of my websites.
      Have you developed one? I am looking for 3.0 and larger So Cal

      • Armand Vervaeck says:

        We are working on it Harold – will take your idea into the recommendations. Will let you know when finished

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