November 29, 2021

Damage reported as magnitude 7.0 quake hits Mexico

Seismologists say earthquake was only 7.8 miles (12.5 km) below the surface, which would have amplified shaking effect.

A powerful earthquake has struck southwestern Mexico near the beach resort of Acapulco causing rock falls and damaging buildings, with one person confirmed dead.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) said the magnitude 7.0 quake struck 11 miles (17.7km) northeast of the resort of Acapulco, Guerrero on Tuesday night. Mexico’s seismological service measured the tremor at magnitude 7.1.

The quake shook the hillsides around Acapulco, causing trees to fall and throwing large boulders onto the road. Panicked residents rushed outside in the middle of the night.

Hector Astudillo, the governor of Guerrero state, which is home to Acapulco, said one person died after they were hit by a post, but there were currently no reports of serious damage.

Acapulco is roughly 230 miles (375 km) southwest of Mexico City.

Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said there were no immediate reports of significant damage in the capital.

In the Roma Sur district of Mexico City, lights went off and scared residents rushed out, some in their pyjamas, a witness told the Reuters news agency.

Images posted on social media showed residents gathered outside in the rain, holding young children or pets, too worried to return to their homes in the dark.

Photos posted by wire agencies also showed damage to buildings and vehicles crushed by falling debris.

“It was terrible. It really reminds me of the 1985 quake every time something like this happens,” said Yesmin Rizk, a 70-year-old Roma Sur resident.

The USGS said the quake, initially measured at a magnitude of 7.4, was very shallow, only 7.8 miles (12.5km) below the surface, which would have amplified the shaking effect.

Bordered by the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, Mexico is one of the most seismically active places in the world, sitting atop five tectonic plates including three big ones.

On September 19, 1985 a magnitude 8.1 quake in Mexico City killed more than 10,000 people and destroyed hundreds of buildings.

On the anniversary of that earthquake in 2017, a magnitude 7.1 quake left about 370 people dead, mainly in the capital.