Series of earthquakes rattle Southern California
Published: August 26, 2012 05:08PM
Updated: August 26, 2012 05:06PM

San Diego • Dozens of small to moderate earthquakes rattled Southern California on Sunday, shaking an area from rural Imperial County to the San Diego coast and north into the Coachella Valley.

The largest quake, magnitude 5.3, struck at 12:31 p.m. about three miles north-northwest of the small Imperial County farming town of Brawley, according to Paul Caruso, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey. It was followed minutes later by a magnitude-4.9 quake.

The first quake had a magnitude of 3.9 and hit at 10:02 a.m. It was followed by a smaller quake about 90 seconds later in the same area near the southern end of the Salton Sea, and other smaller quakes followed within six minutes of the first shock.

The USGS said at least 25 aftershocks struck the same approximate epicenter, about 16 miles north of El Centro.

Several glasses and a bottle of wine crashed to the floor and shattered at Assaggio, an Italian restaurant in Brawley, said owner Jerry Ma. The shaking was short-lived but intense, especially during the second round of stronger quakes, he said.

A dispatcher with the Brawley Police Department said officers were fanning out around the town to assess the extent of the damage.

Some shaking was felt on the coast in Del Mar, some 120 miles from the epicenter, as well as in southern Orange County and parts of northern Mexico.

Scientists aren’t yet sure what fault the quake cluster was on but it was near the 800-mile San Andreas Fault, Caruso said.