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Earthquake Live Updates: Major Quake Shakes Acapulco, Mexico City

Credit…Francisco Robles/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

MEXICO CITY — A 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck near the port city of Acapulco Tuesday night, Mexico’s seismological agency said, shaking the capital, Mexico City, more than 230 miles away. At least one person was killed as a result of the quake, the authorities said.

Mexico’s national seismological service said the quake struck seven miles southwest of Acapulco just before 9 p.m. local time. Photos shared on social media showed cracked and damaged buildings, fallen lamp posts and streets strewn with broken glass in Acapulco.

The civil protection agency for Guerrero state, home to Acapulco, said the quake had led to power and phone outages. Videos from both Acapulco and Mexico City also showed the night sky lit up with electrical flashes as power lines swayed and buckled.

The Federal Electricity Commission said that 1.6 million users were left without power in Mexico City and the states of Mexico, Guerrero, Oaxaca and Morelos.

In the capital, power lines and buildings swayed for several seconds, and residents rushed outside to seek clear ground. Some neighborhoods in Mexico City were left without power, the police said.

In an interview with a local radio station, Hector Astudillo, the governor of Guerrero state, said that one person had died when a post fell on top of them in the municipality de Coyuca de Benítez, west of Acapulco.

Mr. Astudillo added that there had been reports of rocks falling and land sliding, and that walls had fallen down in Chilpancingo, the state’s capital. Many parts of Acapulco were without power late Tuesday evening. “We are trying to continue gathering the information,” the governor said.

A representative for the Red Cross in Chilpancingo said it had received no reports of serious injuries.

The U.S. tsunami warning system issued a warning for Mexico, though the civil protection office for Guerrero state said later that there was no risk of a tsunami. Waves, it said, were expected to be below three feet in height.

The United States Geological Survey said the quake, which it measured at 7.0, was very shallow, only 7.8 miles below the surface, which would have amplified the shaking effect.

However, authorities across Mexico said the immediate effects of the quake on infrastructure had been limited.

“There are no serious damages,” President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said in a video posted to Twitter at about 11 p.m. Eastern time, adding that he had spoken to state and local authorities in the affected areas.

The mayor of Mexico City, Claudia Sheinbaum, said that the capital’s subway system was back up and running after services were briefly shut down because of the quake. A newly installed cable car in the working-class neighborhood of Iztapalapa, which could be seen swaying violently during the quake in videos shared online, was also back in service, Ms. Sheibaum said.

The federal electricity commission was working to restore power to neighborhoods that had gone dark because of the quake, the mayor added.

Mexico is no stranger to earthquakes, with residents in the capital accustomed to regular, and occasionally deadly, seismic activity thanks to the country’s position near colliding sections of the earth’s crust.

Last year, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck the Pacific coast of Mexico and shook the rural state of Oaxaca, killing at least six people and damaging some 500 homes. This followed a devastating quake in 2017, which toppled buildings and left scores dead, including children who were buried under a collapsed school.

Still, Mexican authorities have improved construction codes and warning systems significantly since the devastating earthquake in 1985 that killed as many as 10,000 people in the Mexican capital, greatly reducing the risks of damage.

The capital’s earthquake warning system appeared to have functioned effectively, with speakers across the city issuing a loud siren and a spoken warning of the quake several seconds before it happened, prompting many to rush outside.

At least one person has died after an earthquake was reported near Acapulco, the governor of the state of Guerrero, where the quake was located, said.

In an interview with a local radio station, Héctor Astudillo, the governor, said that one person had died during the quake. He said a post fell on top of the person in the town of Coyuca de Benítez, west of Acapulco.

Mr. Astudillo added that there have been reports of rocks and soil falling, and that walls had fallen down in Chilpancingo, the state’s capital. Many parts of Acapulco remained without power late Tuesday evening. “We are trying to continue gathering information,” the governor said.

Rubble of Mexico City Earthquake in 1985.
Credit…nik wheeler/Corbis via Getty Images

The 7.1 magnitude earthquake that was felt in Mexico City on Tuesday recalls some of the powerful temblors to have affected the city.

A huge 8.1 magnitude earthquake killed as many as 10,000 people on Sept. 19, 1985, flattening or seriously damaging thousands of buildings and leading the country to upgrade its construction codes.

On the 32nd anniversary of that earthquake, another one centered about 100 miles southeast rocked the city, killing more than 155 people, including dozens of children inside a school.

Alberto Briseño, a 58-year-old bar manager, said at the time, “The scariest part of it all is that if you are an adult, and you’ve lived in this city your adult life, you remember 1985 very vividly.”

Mexico is in an area prone to powerful earthquakes, known as a subduction zone. Those are parts of the earth where one slab of the crust is slowly sliding under another. Over time, stress builds because of friction between the slabs. Eventually, the strain becomes so great that all the pent-up energy is released in the form of an earthquake.

In the last century, there have been 17 earthquakes of a magnitude of 7.0 within 150 miles of Tuesday night’s quake, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

A 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit the Mexican beach city of Acapulco and was felt as far away as the capital, shaking buildings and sending residents to the streets. Here are some pictures from the immediate aftermath of the quake.

People standing outside after an earthquake in Mexico City, Mexico, on Wednesday.
Credit…Luis Cortes/Reuters

Shaking streets and strobing lights were seen in parts of Mexico City and Acapulco, followed by darkness after a strong earthquake cut power late Tuesday.

Much of the damage was to power grids, while some homes sustained minor damage. The Federal Electricity Commission Tuesday that 1.6 million users were left without power in Mexico City and the states of Mexico, Guerrero, Oaxaca and Morelos.

Videos from both Acapulco and Mexico City also showed the night sky lit up with electrical flashes as power lines swayed and buckled.

Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, of Mexico City, posted a video of herself at the city’s emergency response center, saying that power had come back to some parts of the city. She tweeted that the city’s cable car resumed service after it had shut down.

One video showed a group stuck in one of the cable cars as the earthquake started.

“Relax, relax,” a man can be heard saying in the video. “No pasa nada, no pasa nada,” another said reassuring an older woman who was praying that nothing would happen.

But mostly, neighborhoods are waiting for power to come back.

The large quake that hit Mexico late Tuesday was strong, shallow and prompted a tsunami alert for the coast, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The quake was centered about 10 miles northeast of Acapulco and was only 12 miles deep, magnifying its strength and helping ensure it was felt as far away as Veracruz.

The U.S.G.S. said the quake was caused by a shallow thrust “on or near” the plate boundary between the oceanic Cocos plate and North America’s continental plate. The Cocos plate is gradually sinking beneath the North American plate.

Strong earthquakes on or near the coast are often felt in Mexico City because the capital was built on an ancient lake bed that has been filled in, magnifying a quake’s energy.


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