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Earthquake in Mexico Shakes Acapulco, Mexico City


Credit…Francisco Robles/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

MEXICO CITY — A 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck near the port city of Acapulco late Tuesday, Mexico’s seismological agency said, shaking the capital, Mexico City, more than 230 miles away.

Power lines and buildings in the capital swayed as the ground moved for several seconds, and residents rushed outside to seek clear ground. There were no immediate reports of casualties, although some neighborhoods were left without power, according to the head of the Mexico City police.

The civil protection agency for Guerrero State, where Acapulco is, said the quake had struck eight miles southeast of the port and resort city and had led to power and phone outages. Rockfalls and landslides onto roads in the state were also reported, according to Reuters.

Videos and photos shared on social media showed cracked and damaged buildings, fallen lamp posts and streets strewn with broken glass in Acapulco.

The U.S. tsunami warning system issued a tsunami threat for Mexico. It said no U.S. states were at risk.

The United States Geological Survey said the quake, which it measured at 7.0, was very shallow, only 7.8 miles below the surface, which would have amplified the shaking effect.

However, authorities across Mexico said the immediate effects of the quake on infrastructure had been limited.

“There are no serious damages,” President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said in a video posted to Twitter, adding that he had spoken to state and local authorities in the affected areas.

The mayor of Mexico City, Claudia Sheinbaum, said that the capital’s subway system was back up and running after services were briefly shut down because of the quake. A newly installed cable car in the working-class neighborhood of Iztapalapa, which could be seen swaying violently during the quake in a videos shared online, was also back in service, Ms. Sheibaum said.

Mexico City is no stranger to earthquakes, with residents in the capital accustomed to regular, and occasionally deadly, seismic activity thanks to the country’s position near colliding sections of the earth’s crust.

Last year, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck the Pacific coast of Mexico and shook the rural state of Oaxaca, killing at least six people and damaging some 500 homes. This followed a devastating quake in 2017, which toppled buildings and left hundreds dead, including children who were buried under a collapsed school.

Still, Mexican authorities have improved construction codes and warning systems significantly since the devastating earthquake in 1985 that killed as many as 10,000 in the Mexican capital, greatly reducing the risks of damage.

The capital’s earthquake warning system appeared to have functioned effectively, with speakers across the city issuing a loud siren and a spoken warning of the quake several seconds before it happened, prompting many to rush outside.

At least one person has died after an earthquake was reported near Acapulco, the governor of the state of Guerrero, where the quake was located, said.

In an interview with a local radio station, Héctor Astudillo, the governor, said that one person had died during the quake. He said a post fell on top of the person in the town of Coyuca de Benítez, west of Acapulco.

Mr. Astudillo added that there have been reports of rocks and soil falling, and that walls had fallen down in Chilpancingo, the state’s capital. Many parts of Acapulco remained without power late Tuesday evening. “We are trying to continue gathering information,” the governor said.

Rubble of Mexico City Earthquake in 1985.
Credit…nik wheeler/Corbis via Getty Images

The 7.1 magnitude earthquake that was felt in Mexico City on Tuesday recalls some of the powerful temblors to have affected the city.

A huge 8.1 magnitude earthquake killed as many as 10,000 people on Sept. 19, 1985, flattening or seriously damaging thousands of buildings and leading the country to upgrade its construction codes.

On the 32nd anniversary of that earthquake, another one centered about 100 miles southeast rocked the city, killing more than 155 people, including dozens of children inside a school.

Alberto Briseño, a 58-year-old bar manager, said at the time, “The scariest part of it all is that if you are an adult, and you’ve lived in this city your adult life, you remember 1985 very vividly.”

Mexico is in an area prone to powerful earthquakes, known as a subduction zone. Those are parts of the earth where one slab of the crust is slowly sliding under another. Over time, stress builds because of friction between the slabs. Eventually, the strain becomes so great that all the pent-up energy is released in the form of an earthquake.

In the last century, there have been 17 earthquakes of a magnitude of 7.0 within 150 miles of Tuesday night’s quake, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

A 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit the Mexican beach city of Acapulco and was felt as far away as the capital, shaking buildings and sending residents to the streets. Here are some pictures from the immediate aftermath of the quake.

The large quake that hit Mexico late Tuesday was strong, shallow and prompted a tsunami alert for the coast, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The quake was centered about 10 miles northeast of Acapulco and was only 12 miles deep, magnifying its strength and helping ensure it was felt as far away as Veracruz.

The U.S.G.S. said the quake was caused by a shallow thrust “on or near” the plate boundary between the oceanic Cocos plate and North America’s continental plate. The Cocos plate is gradually sinking beneath the North American plate.

Strong earthquakes on or near the coast are often felt in Mexico City because the capital was built on an ancient lake bed that has been filled in, magnifying a quake’s energy.



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