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Mexican Earthquake Felt in Wickenburg

I was sitting at an early Easter dinner with friends in a downtown Wickenburg apartment when my host, Warren, said, “Do you feel that? The building is shaking.”

It was 3:40 PM on Sunday, April 4, 2010.

At first, I didn’t feel a thing. But then it seemed as if my chair were moving ever so slightly. The hanging light fixture over the table was swaying.

Janet, who spent many years in earthquake-prone California, said, “It’s just the wind.”

The windows were open, but it wasn’t that windy. When Janet’s eyes remained fixed on the swaying light fixture, I knew that even she didn’t believe her own words.

And then it was over. We talked for a few minutes about the unlikelihood of it being an earthquake in Arizona. We thought it might be a large truck driving down the road or perhaps a passing train. Someone joked about “the big one” in California giving all of us in Arizona waterfront property. Conversation turned to other things, including the nasty habit of some train engineers who liked to blast the horn as they drove through town.

Earthquake Map

The area earthquake map at 8:22 PM Sunday night. The blue and red squares are earthquakes within the past day and hour; the big blue one is the 3:40 PM event.

Three hours later, when I returned home, I fired up my computer and pointed the Web browser to the USGS Latest Earthquakes in the World page. There had been a lot of small earthquakes in Southern California and Baja California in Mexico over the past hour. I scrolled down and hit paydirt: a 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Baja California, Mexico, 38 miles south of Mexicali.

Could this be what we’d felt? A trip to the home page for AZCentral.com confirmed that the quake had been felt in Phoenix.

We did some more research and even made a report to the USGS using the Did You Feel It? page for the event. By this time, hours after the event, more than 44,000 people had reported feeling the earthquake as far away as Wyoming. Our report was one of a dozen made from Wickenburg.

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