CAMBRIA, Calif. Dec. 22 — An earthquake rocked the remote central coast Monday, knocking out power in the area and sending tremors across a wide swath of Southern California. Initial reports indicated minor damage and some workers injured at a winery.
The quake, which struck at around 11:16 a.m. local time, was felt as a sustained but gentle rolling motion in downtown Los Angeles.
The U.S. Geological Survey gave it a preliminary magnitude of 6.5 and said it was centered north of the coastal town of Cambria. Cambria is in San Luis Obispo County, about 185 miles northwest of Los Angeles. The county has a population of around 250,000.
The site is only a few miles from San Simeon, William Randolph Hearst's castle. Calls to the castle did not immediately go through.
The quake struck just before 11:16 a.m. on a series of faults that run parallel to the San Andreas Fault, said Lucy Jones, scientist in charge of the U.S. Geological Survey office in Pasadena.
The quake likely ruptured along roughly 20 miles of a yet-unknown fault, Jones said.
"It's luckily on the coast there is not very much nearby. That's a good thing," Jones said.
The USGS listed several smaller quakes in the same area in the minutes following, the largest magnitude 4.9.
San Luis Obispo County sheriff's Sgt. Pete Hodgkin said damage reports were trickling in.
"It's the usual stuff, broken glass and stuff. Haven't heard anything serious," Hodgkin said. "Some people are hurt at the Wildhorse Winery, some wine barrels fell over. I don't know anything more.
"It's kind of hectic," he said. "It felt like a big one, like the San Francisco earthquake years ago. The lights went out. We're on emergency power here. We felt some small ones earlier but nobody believed us."
Tad Weber, managing editor of The Tribune in San Luis Obispo, about 30 miles southeast of Cambria, said he was in a meeting when "all of a sudden there was a jolting and we look up and see the building swaying. I dove under a desk to wait it out."