MEXICO CITY – A powerful earthquake Monday shook fishing villages along Mexico’s Gulf of California and prompted alarm as far away as Phoenix, but there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.
The U.S. National Earthquake Information Center said the 6.9-magnitude quake struck at 12:59 p.m. and was centered 76 miles north-northeast of Santa Isabel in Baja California and 331 miles southeast of the border city of Tijuana.
It was the strongest of four quakes of 5.0-magnitude or greater that struck the area over a 45-minute period late Monday morning.
Phoenix Fire Department spokesman Alex Rangel said a high-rise near downtown shook violently enough that workers evacuated, but there were no reports of injuries or damage.
The quake was centered about 460 miles from Phoenix.
Wilfredo Rivera, a manager at the Posada Santa Gemma hotel in Bahia Kino near the coast, said doors slammed as the ground rocked.
“The earth was turning around really ugly,” he said. “People got really scared.”
The quake was also felt in San Diego, where city employees left an 18-story downtown tower that houses the city attorney and other departments.
Civil protection officials in the two Mexican states on either side of the quake – Baja California and Sonora – said there were no reports of damage or injury.
The quakes were all centered in the middle of the narrow slice of sea between the Baja peninsula and Mexico’s mainland, which reduced its chances of causing major damage, said Don Blakeman, an analyst at the earthquake center.