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Earthquake Shakes San Diego Area

February 22, 2002

CALEXICO, Calif. (AP) _ An earthquake centered in the desert south of the Mexican border shook the San Diego area Friday, knocking items off store shelves but apparently causing no injuries or serious damage.

The quake, with a magnitude estimated at 5.4, struck at 11:32 a.m. and was considered moderate, said Nick Sheckel, a seismic analyst at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

It was centered 28 miles south of the border city of Calexico, in Mexico’s Baja California, and was followed within minutes by eight aftershocks ranging from 3.1 to 3.9.

``It shook pretty bad at first. It made a lot of noise,″ said Jessie Nunez, an office assistant with the Calexico Fire Department.

At the town’s Super Shopping Apple Market, about 60 customers stood motionless during the quake, said Joe Moreno, a manager.

Paper towels, cereal boxes and pancake syrup bottles were knocked to the floor, and signs and mirrors hanging from the ceiling swayed back and forth, Moreno said.

``It was like boom. Then it started shaking, shaking, shaking,″ said Frank Flores, another manager. ``It was rocking side to side. Some people got dizzy.″

About 15 miles north of the border, employees of the Imperial County Sheriff’s Department in El Centro stood in doorways, while others fled the building.

Small to moderate quakes are common in the area. A magnitude-3.2 hit on Thursday.

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