Some items toppled off shelves, but there were no reports of significant damage from the 5.4 magnitude jolt.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) says the seismic event was not a direct aftershock of the quake that wrecked the northern Baja California city of Mexicali on April 4, but resulted from stress generated by the 7.2 magnitude quake.
USGS seismologists say the epicenter was about 45 miles south of Palm Springs in a remote mountainous area between Laguna Beach and the inland desert resorts.
Wednesday’s quake struck just as people began heading home from work across the region. Shaking was felt for about 30 seconds as far away as San Diego and Los Angeles.
Some elevators were briefly knocked out due to the quake, causing some passengers to become trapped inside until repair crews could release them.