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Magnitude-5.4 earthquake strikes Southern California

LOS ANGELES — A moderate earthquake jolted Southern California on Wednesday, rattling buildings across a wide swath of land but causing no immediate injuries or major damage.

The magnitude-5.4 quake was centered 28 miles south of Palm Springs, or about 130 miles east of Los Angeles, the U.S. Geological Survey said. It struck at 4:53 p.m.

It was initially reported as a magnitude-5.9 but later downgraded to 5.4. Sheriff’s departments in Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange and San Diego counties have no immediate reports of major damage or injuries.

Caltech Seismic Analyst Anthony Guarino said preliminary information indicates that the quake was on the San Jacinto fault, one of two that was stressed by the 7.2-magnitude quake near the U.S.-Mexico border on Easter.

He said structures in Palm Springs will likely see some damage, cracked masonry and plaster.

Tony Wann, 37, a bartender at Carlee’s Place in downtown Borrego Springs, said the quake knocked a few glasses off shelves but none shattered and there was no apparent damage, other than rattled nerves.

“You heard it before you felt it. It was a big rumbling, then a few seconds of violent shaking,” he said.

“Everybody came out of their shops, then everybody went right about their normal business,” Wann said. “It’s part of living in California.”

Kim Daniel, director of sales and marketing at the Borrego Springs Resort and Spa, said the earthquake was the strongest that she’s felt in 13 years of living in Southern California.

The temblor began with a strong shaking that lasted about 10 seconds, she said.

“I looked around to make sure nothing was falling off the walls, she said.

She said the resort appears to have suffered no structural damage. There were few guests because it’s the heart of the summer — the low tourist season in the desert.

At least a dozen aftershocks have been recorded, with the largest measuring magnitude-3.6. Guarino said such seismic activity is not completely surprising given the quake on Easter in Southern California.

“We knew that the stress increased on both of those faults. You can’t predict earthquakes, but the statistics said there would be an increased chance of this happening,” he said.

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