An earthquake hit the pacific coast of Mexico at 1:00 PM EST on Thursday, leaving residents of Mexico City startled but unharmed.
The earthquake registered a 6.4 on the Richter scale with an epicenter located in the state of Guerrero, 117 miles north of Mexico City — but city residents still felt the impact.
Mayor Crisoforo Otero Heredia of Tecpan de Galeana, only 9 miles north of the epicenter, said the quake caused “a wave of panic” and damaged roads and houses in Tecpan.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, this quake was an aftershock of another that hit Mexico in April.
“The earthquake is indeed within the Guerrero Seismic Gap,” said USGS research geophysicist William Barnhart, “but since it is consistent with being an aftershock of the magnitude-7.2, it is neither an abnormal event, nor does it significantly reduce the remaining stored stress in the seismic gap.”
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While there have been no reports of casualties, Tecpan has seen the most damage. A 30-yard section of highway bridge that had been under repair from April’s earthquake collapsed, and the federal highway between Acapulco and Zihuatanejo was closed due to flooding. 20 homes have been reported damaged in Zijuatanejo according to Guerrero Governor Angel Aguirre, in addition to the dozens of adobe homes Guerrero officials say have collapsed. There have also been reports of several mudslides on major highways.
While there was no structural damage in Mexico City, residents were evacuated from buildings and homes by the thousands to designated safe areas. Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera of Mexico City stated that all city services were up and running after the quake.
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Mexico City is built on unstable drained lake beds, which makes the area prone to damage from surrounding earthquakes. According to the USGS, there is potential for earthquakes of even bigger magnitudes in Guerrero Gap that could cause more damage than that of the April earthquake or the 1985 earthquake that killed 9,500 in Mexico City.
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