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Series of earthquakes rattle Southern California

Associated Press Modified: August 27, 2012 at 1:16 am •  Published: August 27, 2012
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SAN DIEGO (AP) — Dozens of small to moderate earthquakes struck southeastern California on Sunday, knocking trailer homes off their foundations, shattering windows and rattling nerves in a small farming town east of San Diego.

The largest quake, at 1:57 p.m., registered at a magnitude 5.5 and was centered about three miles northwest of the town of Brawley, said Robert Graves, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey. Another quake about an hour and a half earlier registered at magnitude 5.3.

No injuries were reported.

More than 30 additional earthquakes with magnitudes of at least 3.5 jiggled the same area near the southern end of the Salton Sea, Graves said.

"The type of activity that we're seeing could possibly continue for several hours or even days," Graves said.

The quakes pushed 20 mobile homes at a trailer park off their foundations, displacing the families that lived in them, said Maria Peinado, a spokeswoman for the Imperial County Emergency Operations Center.

Sporadic power outages affecting 2,500 Imperial Irrigation District customers also prompted authorities to evacuate some patients from one of the county's two hospitals.

By late Sunday, a magnitude-5.1 quaked followed by several more with magnitudes of at least 4.0 shook the area.

"We're all on edge here," said George Nava, the mayor of Brawley, a town of 25,000. "It's not uncommon for us to have earthquakes out here, but at this frequency and at this magnitude it's fairly unusual."

At the El Sol Market in Brawley, food packages fell from shelves and littered the aisles.

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, he said.

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