A 7.6-magnitude earthquake rocked Mexico’s central Pacific coast on Monday, killing at least one person and triggering a seismic alarm in the stricken capital in memory of two previous devastating earthquakes.
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 (USGS), which initially put its magnitude at 7.5.
It added that the epicenter of the quake was 37 km southeast of Aquila, near the borders of the states of Colima and Michoacan, at a depth of 15.1 km.
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said via Twitter that the Secretary of the Navy told him that one person was killed in the coastal city of Manzanillo, Colima, when a wall collapsed in a shopping mall.
And in Colcumen, Michoacan, near the epicenter, buildings were damaged, but there were no immediate reports of injuries.
“It started slowly and then it was really strong and it went on and on until it started to regress,” said 16-year-old Carla Cardenas, a Colcomman resident. Cardenas walked out of her family’s hotel and waited with the neighbours.
Watch | 7.6-magnitude earthquake hits Mexico: 7.6-magnitude earthquake hits Mexicans into streets – A 7.6-magnitude earthquake hit Mexico on Monday, causing people to gather in the streets for safety as seismic warnings went off.
She said the hotel and some homes along the street had cracks in the walls and parts of the facades and ceilings.
“In the hotel, the parking area roof has bounced back and fallen to the floor, and there are cracks in the walls on the second floor,” Cardenas said.
She said the town’s hospital was badly damaged, but she had not yet heard of anyone being injured.
Mexico’s National Civil Defense Agency said that based on historical data for Mexico’s tsunami waves, differences of up to 82 centimeters could have occurred in coastal water levels near the epicenter. The US Tsunami Warning Center said dangerous tsunami waves were possible on coasts located within 300 km of the epicenter.
Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum wrote on Twitter that there were no reports of damage in the capital.
The third earthquake on the same date
The alerts for the new earthquake came less than an hour after the earthquake sirens went off in a nationwide earthquake simulation marking the large, deadly earthquakes that occurred on the same date in 1985 and 2017.
“This is a coincidence,” said Paul Earl, a seismologist with the US Geological Survey. “There is no physical cause or statistical bias toward earthquakes in any particular month in Mexico.”
There is no season or month for major earthquakes anywhere in the world, Earle said. But one thing is predictable: people seek and sometimes find coincidences that look like patterns.
“We knew we were going to get that question as soon as it happened,” Earl said. “Sometimes there are just coincidences.”
Earl said the quake was not related to or caused by exercises an hour or so before, nor was it related to a devastating earthquake in Taiwan the day before.
Humberto Garza stood in front of a restaurant in the Roma neighborhood of Mexico City holding his three-year-old son. Like many who were hiking outside after the earthquake, 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 sounded too far away,” he said.
Outside the city’s environmental ombudsman’s office, dozens of employees waited. Some looked visibly shaken.
Electricity was cut in parts of the city, including traffic lights, disrupting the already infamous traffic in the capital.
People gather in the streets after the earthquake. Mexico experienced major earthquakes on the same date in 1985 and 2017 (Fernando Llano/Associated Press)
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