A 7.6-magnitude earthquake shook Mexico’s central Pacific coast on Monday, killing at least one person and triggering a seismic alert in the rattled capital on the anniversary of two earlier devastating quakes. There were at least some early reports of damage to buildings from the quake, which struck at 1:05 p.m. local time, according to the US Geological Survey, which had originally put the magnitude at 7.5.
It said the quake was centered 23 miles southeast of Aquila, near the border of Colima and Michoacan states, and at a depth of 9.4 miles.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said via Twitter that the Secretary of the Navy told him that one person was killed in the port city of Manzanillo, Colima, when a wall at a shopping mall collapsed.
In Coalcoman, Michoacan, near the earthquake’s epicenter, buildings were damaged, but there were no immediate reports of injuries. “It started slow and then it was really strong and it went on and on until it started to give out,” said 16-year-old Carla Cárdenas, a resident of Coalcoman. She ran out of her family’s hotel and waited with neighbors. She said the hotel and some homes along the street showed cracks in walls and parts of facades and roofs had broken off. “At the hotel, the roof of the parking lot collapsed and fell to the ground, and there are cracks in the walls on the second floor,” she said. She said the city’s hospital was seriously damaged, but so far she has not heard of anyone injured.
Mexico’s National Civil Defense Agency said that based on historical data on tsunamis in Mexico, variations of as much as 32 inches were possible in coastal water levels near the epicenter. The US Tsunami Warning Center said dangerous tsunami waves were possible for coasts within 186 miles of the epicenter.
Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum tweeted that no damage was reported in the capital.
– It felt terrible, said Karina Suarez (37) after evacuating the building where she lives in the city, according to AFP.
Alerts for the quake came less than an hour after earthquake alarms went off in a nationwide earthquake simulation that marked major quakes that struck on the same date in 1985 and 2017.
In the 1985 earthquake, more than 10,000 people were killed and hundreds of buildings were destroyed.
“It’s this date, there’s something about the 19th,” said Ernesto Lanzetta, a business owner in Mexico City, according to the Reuters news agency. “The 19th is a day to be feared.”
USGS seismologist Paul Earle said it was a coincidence that the earthquake happened on Monday.
“There is no physical reason or statistical bias toward earthquakes in any given month in Mexico,” Earle said.
Nor is there a season or month for major earthquakes anywhere on the globe, Earle said. But it is a predictable thing: People seek and sometimes find coincidences that look like patterns. “We knew we were going to get this question as soon as it happened,” Earle said. “Sometimes it’s just coincidence.” The quake was not related to or caused by the previous simulation, nor was it linked to a damaging temblor in
Humberto Garza stood outside a restaurant in the Roma neighborhood of Mexico City, holding his 3-year-old son. Like many post-quake survivors, Garza said the earthquake alert went off so soon after the annual simulation that he wasn’t sure it was real.
“I heard the alarm, but it sounded very far away,” he said.
Several dozen employees were waiting outside the city’s environmental ombudsman’s office. Some seemed visibly shaken. Power was out in parts of the city, including stop lights, snarling the capital’s already notorious traffic.