Special Reports
Regional Location:

Preliminary Magnitude:

Greenwich Mean Date:
Greenwich Mean Time:
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M 5.4 (SCSN)

1.2 km (0.7 miles)

Big Bear M 5.4 earthquake shakes a wide area

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Felt Reports, continued

Many closest to the epicenter said their home shook with several sharp jerks, causing objects to slide about and eventually topple from tables and shelves. Windows rattled, pictures on walls vibrated, and some eventually fell to the floor. Some place experienced a lot of toppled items and people spent a good deal of time cleaning up the mess. Some doors and cabinets swung open and later did not to close properly.

One report said that Thelma's Restaurant, a dinning facility east of Big Bear Lake in downtown Big Bear City (location), had quite a mess to clean up.

People said the main jolt and the largest aftershocks were accompanied by loud rumbles, like a fright train passing by. Homes and business immediately filled with creaking and rattling sounds, only to pause for a short time then start up again.

People further away said they felt long rolling motions that caused the building to sway back and forth. Some said they knew immediately that the epicenter was at some distance away and prayed everyone was safe.

There have been no reports of car alarms going off.

Background information:
Many people who were jarred awake by this morning's earthquake remembered another a couple other early morning temblors more than a decade ago that were much stronger. The Landers M 7.3 / Big Bear M 6.4 earthquake series on June 28, 1992, occurred at 4: 57 a.m. and 8:05 a.m., respectively, causing one death, over 400 injuries, and around $100 million in damage to property, roads and water systems. Worst hit were the desert communities of Landers, Yucca Valley, and Joshua Tree, as well as Big Bear Lake. See a list of M 5.0 in Southern California and Northern Baja, Mexico since 1990.

The epicenter of the 1992 Big Bear earthquake was centered south of Big Bear City near San Gorgonio Peak, some six miles from this morning's earthquake.

Nearly two years ago to the day, a M 5.1 earthquake also shook the San Bernardino Mountains near Big Bear City. The Big Bear M 5.1 earthquake occurred on February 10, 2001, and was centered about 2 miles north of Big Bear Lake and just north of Fawnskin at Delamar Mountain - some five miles west of this morning's activity. It also knocked items from tables and shelves, pictures from walls, and sent people scampering from their homes. It occurred at 1:05 p.m. in the afternoon.

Moderate earthquakes have been relatively absent in Southern California in the last two years. In fact, the last three M 5.0+ temblors that have been felt in the Southland have occurred south of the Mexican border. The last M 5.0+ quake in Southern California proper was the Anza M 5.1 earthquake on October 31, 2001.

The last M 6.0+ earthquake in Southern California was the Lavic Lake (Hector MIne) M 7.1 earthquake on October 16, 1999 - 3.5 years ago.

The week prior to the February 22 Big Bear M 5.4 earthquake showed a change in the distribution of activity, as more action occurred in the central part of the region as compared to weeks prior. See the weekly Seismo-Watch Southern California earthquake report.

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Report update: 8:29:40 AM, Monday, February 24, 2003

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