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Local News

Baja Earthquake Makes Splash in Santa Barbara

7.2-magnitude quake causes no damage or injuries locally, but sets off wave of action in pools

A 7.2-magnitude earthquake shook up much of Southern California and northern Baja on Sunday afternoon, but went largely unnoticed in Santa Barbara. Except on More Mesa, where one resident quickly videotaped the shock waves in his pool.

The quake struck at 3:40 p.m. Sunday, in Guadalupe Victoria about 108 miles east of Tijuana. Preliminary reports estimated the magnitude at 6.9, but Caltech seismologists later raised the number to 7.2. The U.S. Geological Survey said three strong aftershocks — one a magnitude 5.1 — were felt in the Imperial County desert east of San Diego within an hour after the main temblor, and a magnitude-4.1 aftershock occurred in Santa Monica Bay south of Malibu.

At least one death was reported, just outside the sprawling border city of Mexicali, when a house collapsed and killed a man inside. A two-story parking garage also collapsed and several homes were gutted by fire caused by the quake, officials said.

There were no immediate reports of injuries north of the border but the earthquake caused skyscrapers to sway in Los Angeles and San Diego. Disneyland officials temporarily closed rides at the Anaheim theme park and public-safety agencies were checking bridges and buildings for possible structural damage throughout Southern California.

In Santa Barbara, Glenn Avolio, a resident of More Mesa, said he and his wife, Rosa, hardly felt the quake, “but the pool sure did!”

“The pool wave lasted about five to 10 minutes,” he said in an e-mail to Noozhawk, including a video as proof.

(Glenn Avolio video)

Despite the onshore wave action, the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center said the quake was unlikely to trigger a tsunami.

“A strong earthquake has occurred, but a tsunami is not expected along the California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia or Alaska coast,” the center, an agency of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said in a statement. “No tsunami warning, watch or advisory is in effect for these areas.”

On Feb. 27, a small tsunami tide surged into Santa Barbara Harbor within hours of a deadly 8.8-magnitude quake that rocked central Chile. There were no damage or injuries locally.

Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk.

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