Mexico City Hit By 2 Powerful Earthquakes On Sept 19th 32 Yrs Apart

by Kim Boateng Posted on September 19th, 2017

Mexico City, Mexico. Sept 19th: A powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck near Mexico City today , toppling buildings and extinguishing lights as thousands of people fled, coming 32 years to the day after a temblor with an 8.0 magnitude killed thousands in the city.

The temblor which was the Mexico’s second major earthquake this month, closed the airport and stopped trading on the Mexican stock exchange.

Smoke plumes rose near the financial thoroughfare of Paseo de La Reforma, which was flooded with people as buildings swayed. Fallen concrete and shattered glass littered the streets. At least one building collapsed in the Roma neighborhood.

President Enrique Pena Nieto is returning to Mexico City from Oaxaca, he said in a tweet. Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong on Twitter asked people to leave their buildings.

Worried that the quake could add to the economy’s woes, investors sold Mexican assets, with the iShares MSCI Mexico Capped ETF dropped 0.6 percent at 3.20 p.m. in New York. The Mexico peso fell to a session low of 17.83.

Mexico is one of the world’s most seismically active nations, sitting at the intersection of four major crustal plates, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The epicenter of Tuesday temblor was in Puebla, outside the capital, according to European Mediterranean Seismological Centre. The quake came hours after emergency drills regularly held on the anniversary of the 1985 disaster.

On Sept. 7, a temblor hit offshore near Chiapas state with a magnitude of 8.2, according to the U.S. Geological Survey and Mexico’s National Seismological Service.

ALSO, On September 19th in 1985, a powerful earthquake struck Mexico City and left 10,000 people dead, 30,000 injured and thousands more homeless. At 7:18 in the morning, the residents of Mexico City were jolted awake by an 8.1-magnitude earthquake, one of the strongest to ever hit the area. The effects of the quake were particularly devastating because of the type of ground upon which the city sits. Mexico City is on a plateau surrounded by mountains and volcanoes. The plateau region was covered by lakes in ancient times. As the aquifer under the city has slowly drained, it has been discovered that the city sits atop a combination of dirt and sand that is much less stable than bedrock and can be quite volatile during an earthquake.


Photo: Mexico City Hit By Powerful Earthquakes On Sept 19th 32 Yrs Apart

The quake on September 19, 1985 exactly 32 years ago, was centered 250 miles west of Mexico City but, due to the relatively unstable ground underneath the city, serious shaking lasted for nearly 3 minutes. The prolonged ground movement caused several old hotels, including the Regis, Versailles and Romano, to crumble. A building at the National College of Professional Education fell, trapping hundreds of students who were attending early-morning classes. Many factories in the city, built with shoddy materials, also could not stand. Further, the tremors caused gas mains to break, causing fires and explosions throughout the city.

When the damage from the 1985 temblor was finally assessed, 3,000 buildings in Mexico City were demolished and another 100,000 suffered serious damage.

Death Toll In Mexico Earthquake Rises To At Least 61

Juchitan De Zaragota, Mexico. Sept 9th: At least 61 people are confirmed dead in Mexico’s most powerful earthquake in a century, the 8.2 magnitude earthquake that struck 20 miles under the Pacific off the southern coast of Mexico, about 100 kilometers off the town of Tonala in Chiapas, near the border with Guatemala late thursday. Emergency workers looked for survivors or bodies in the rubble of houses, churches and schools that were torn apart in the In the southern region hit hardest by the quake.

Pope Francis, at an open air mass on a visit to Colombia, said he was praying “for those who have lost their lives and their families” in the disaster.

Mexico President Enrique Pena Nieto toured the hardest-hit city, Juchitan in Oaxaca, where at least 36 bodies were pulled from the ruins.
He said 45 people were killed in Oaxaca, 12 in Chiapas and four in Tabasco. But the actual death toll could be over 80, according to figures reported by state officials. Adding to the concerns, authorities warned another massive aftershock could follow within 24 hours of the first quake.

A hotel collapsed and many homes were badly damaged in Matias Romero, Oaxaca State, the predominantly indigenous town of 100,000 people, which is tucked into the lush green southern mountains near the coast.

In Tabasco, two children were among the dead. One was crushed by a collapsing wall. Another, an infant on a respirator, died after the quake triggered a power outage.

More than 200 people were injured across Mexico, officials said. Four people were also injured in neighboring Guatemala, where President Jimmy Morales flew over affected areas and ordered urgent humanitarian assistance.


Photo: Sensacion hotel which collapsed with the powerful earthquake that struck Mexico, in Matias Romero, Oaxaca State

Mexico’s seismology service estimated it at 8.2 magnitude while the US Geological Survey put it at 8.1, the same as in 1985, the quake-prone country’s most destructive ever. The quake was felt as far north as Mexico City — some 800 kilometers from the epicenter, where people fled their homes, many in their pajamas, after hearing sirens go off.

Officials initially issued a tsunami alert, but later lifted it. However, the quake triggered waves that reached as far as New Zealand, more than 11,000 kilometers away. Authorities said small tsunami waves of up to 40 centimeters were recorded on the far-flung Chatham Islands, with 25 centimeter surges on the New Zealand coast, some 15 hours after the quake.

Mexico sits atop five tectonic plates, making it prone to earthquakes, and has two long coastlines that are frequently battered by hurricanes.

8.2 Earthquake Hits Mexico Trigering Tsunami Warning For Several Countries

Mexico City, Mexico. Sept. 8th: A powerful 8.2 magnitude earthquake has struck 20 miles under the Pacific off the southern coast of Mexico, near the border with Guatemala, reportedly killing at least three and triggering a tsunami warning for several countries. The temblor, occurred off the coast of Chiapas about 10 minutes before midnight local time, NOAA’s National Weather Service said Friday.

A tsunami warning has been issued for Mexico, where a wave as large as 0.7 meters in height has already been confirmed. Also at risk, but from less hazardous waves, are Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama and Honduras. The shock from the temblor was felt in Mexico City, where tremors rattled buildings for up to a mintue, the BBC reported.

At least two people have died in the state of Chiapas, said the Mexican interior minister. There is currently no tsunami threat to Hawaii, Guam or American Samoa, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said on Twitter.

At least three people were reported killed in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, government officials said. In Tabasco state, two children were left dead, one a baby who died in hospital after the power went out.

Meanwhile, U.S. forecasters said “hazardous” tsunami waves of more than nine feet above the tide level were possible along the Mexican coast. Waves of around three feet have already been observed, they said.

They also predicted that tsunamis of up to three feet could hit as far away as American Samoa, New Zealand and Antarctica. Later, they updated the warning to say there was no threat to American Samoa, Hawaii and Guam. There are tsunami warnings in place for Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama and Honduras.

The tremors were so severe that people in Mexico City, over 500 miles away, fled shaking buildings in their pajamas.

Witnesses in Mexico City described the ground shaking for a full 45 seconds.


Photo: Patients and Doctors wait outside a hospital after the earthquake

Mexico’s civil protection agency said it was the strongest earthquake to hit the capital since a devastating 1985 tremor that flattened swathes of Mexico City and killed thousands.

There were no immediate reports of major damage in the capital but windows were broken at the airport and power went out in several major neighborhoods. At least five aftershocks were reported. The quake knocked out power throughout southern Mexico.

Chiapas Gov. Manuel Velasco told reporters that the roofs of homes and a shopping center had collapsed in San Cristobal.

“There are damages in hospitals that have lost energy,” he said. “Homes, schools and hospitals have been affected.”

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Kim Boateng

Kim Boateng

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