A 7.6 magnitude earthquake rocked Mexico’s central Pacific coast on Monday, killing at least one person and triggering an earthquake alarm in the shaken capital on the anniversary of two previous devastating quakes.
There were at least a few early reports of damage to buildings from the quake, which struck at 1:05 p.m. local time, according to the US Geologic Survey, which initially estimated the magnitude at 7.5.
He said the quake was centered 37 kilometers (23 miles) southeast of Aquila near the border of Colima and Michoacan states and at a depth of 15.1 kilometers (9.4 miles).
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said via Twitter that he was told by the Secretary of the Navy that a person had been killed in the port city of Manzanillo, Colima, when a wall at a shopping center collapsed.
In Coalcoman, Michoacan, near the epicenter of the quake, buildings were damaged, but no injuries were immediately reported.
“It started slow and then got really loud and went on and on until it started to calm down,” said Coalcoman resident Carla Cárdenas, 16. Cárdenas ran out of her family’s hotel and waited with neighbors.
She said the hotel and some houses along the street had cracks in the walls and segments of facades and roofs had broken off.
“In the hotel, the roof of the parking lot exploded and fell to the ground, and there are cracks in the walls of the second floor,” Cárdenas said.
She said the city hospital was badly damaged, but she had so far heard of no injuries.
Mexico’s national civil defense agency said that, based on historical data from tsunamis in Mexico, variations of up to 32 inches (82 cm) 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 (300 kilometers) of the epicentre.
Irlanda Villa, from the Coahuayana coast, Michoacan, near the border with Colima, said some walls had fallen, but the big fear was that a tsunami would follow. “We were afraid that the tide would recede, but in the end everything is fine.”
Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum tweeted that no damage was reported in the capital
Alarms for the new quake came less than an hour after an earthquake sounded in a nationwide earthquake simulation marking major earthquakes that struck on the same date in 1985 and 2017. The magnitude 8.0 earthquake centered near the coast of Guerrero state in 1985 killed at least 9,500 people. More than 360 people died in the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that struck in 2017.
“It’s a coincidence” that this is the third earthquake on September 19, said US Geological Survey seismologist Paul Earle. “There is no physical reason or statistical bias toward earthquakes in any given month in Mexico.”
There is also no season or month for large earthquakes anywhere in the world, Earle said. But there is one predictable thing: people sometimes look for and find coincidences that look like patterns.
“We knew we would have this question as soon as it happened,” Earle said. “Sometimes it’s just coincidences.”
The quake was not related to or caused by the exercise about an hour earlier, or a damaging earthquake in Taiwan the previous day, Earle said.
Humberto Garza stood outside a restaurant in Mexico City’s Roma neighborhood holding his 3-year-old son. Like many people crowding outside after the quake, Garza said the earthquake alarm sounded so soon after the annual simulation that he wasn’t sure it was real.
“I heard the alarm, but it was ringing really far away,” he said.
Outside the office of the city’s environmental ombudsman, dozens of employees were waiting. Some looked visibly shaken.
Electricity was cut in parts of the city, including red lights, rumbling the capital’s already notorious traffic.
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