Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published May 8, 2014 at 10:45 AM | Page modified May 8, 2014 at 10:19 PM

  • Share:
           
  • Comments (0)
  • Print

Strong earthquake shakes Mexico's Pacific coast

A strong earthquake shook the southern Pacific coast of Mexico as well as the capital and several inland states Thursday, sending frightened people into unseasonal torrential rains that were also bearing down on the coast.


Associated Press

Reader Comments
Hide / Show comments
@Wise Great Grandfather I didn't realize Mexico's west coast also had a viaduct. What are the chances of that... MORE
@Wise Great Grandfather I'm not sure I understand your point. Are you suggesting that geologic events thousands of... MORE
These types of articles could always use a map or link to a map, IMO. MORE

advertising

ACAPULCO, Mexico —

A strong earthquake shook the southern Pacific coast of Mexico as well as the capital and several inland states Thursday, sending frightened people into unseasonal torrential rains that were also bearing down on the coast.

The 6.4-magnitude quake in southern Guerrero state was centered about 9 miles (15 kilometers) north of Tecpan de Galeana, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, and was felt about 171 miles (277 kilometers) miles away in Mexico City, where office workers streamed into the streets away from high-rise buildings.

There were no reports of injuries but varying reports of damage near the epicenter emerged throughout the day.

Among the damage was the collapse of a 30-meter (yard) section of highway bridge that was already under repair from last fall's flooding and a magnitude-7.2 quake in the same area in April. Flooding of the detour route from heavy rain Thursday left the federal highway between the resort cities of Acapulco and Zihuatanejo closed.

Guerrero Gov. Angel Aguirre reported three homes collapsed in Zijuatanejo and 17 more unstable after the temblor. Local officials reported dozens of simple adobe homes collapsed near the epicenter, though no one was injured. Aguirre also reported mudslides on other major highways, including the one connecting Acapulco with Mexico City.

Civil protection crews in Acapulco found no problems except scared citizens who were forced to take refuge in the heavy rain that was hitting the region.

In Mexico City, elegantly dressed businesswoman Carmen Lopez was leaving a downtown office building when the ground began to shake. She dashed across the street to a leafy median as light poles swayed violently above her.

"That was just too scary," Lopez said as she quickly started dialing her cellphone to alert friends and family.

Behind her, thousands of people poured from neighboring office buildings, following pre-planned evacuation routes to areas considered safe in case of falling glass.

The quake occurred at a depth of 15 miles (23 kilometers) and its epicenter was about 40 miles (66 kilometers) from that of the April 18 quake that shook central and southern Mexico.

The earlier quake occurred in a section of the Pacific Coast known as the Guerrero Seismic Gap, which is a 125-mile (200-kilometer) section where tectonic plates meet and have been locked, causing huge amounts of energy to be stored up with potentially devastating effects, the USGS said. It said a magnitude-7.6 temblor struck in the section in 1911.

The U.S. agency said Thursday's quake was an aftershock of the April 18 temblor.

"The earthquake is indeed within the Guerrero Seismic Gap," USGS research geophysicist William Barnhart wrote in an email to The Associated Press. "But since it is consistent with being an aftershock of the magnitude-7.2, it is neither an abnormal event, nor does it significantly reduce the remaining stored stress in the seismic gap."

The USGS says the Guerrero Gap has the potential to produce a quake as strong as magnitude 8.4, potentially much more powerful than the magnitude-8.1 quake that killed 9,500 people and devastated large sections of Mexico City in 1985. The 1985 quake was centered 250 miles (400 kilometers) from the capital on the Pacific Coast.

Mexico City is vulnerable to distant earthquakes because much of it sits atop the muddy sediments of drained lake beds. They jiggle like jelly when the quake waves hit.

___

Associated Press writer Mark Stevenson in Mexico City contributed to this report.



Want unlimited access to seattletimes.com? Subscribe now!

News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►