An earthquake that struck Mexico City and surrounding areas has been measured at magnitude 6.4, and has been determined to be an after shock from the April 18th quake that measured 7.2 and was centered about 40 miles away.
Thursday’s quake was centered 9 miles north of Tecpan de Galeana, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It was felt about 171 miles away in Mexico City and in many surrounding communities. The sudden shaking sent people running out into sheets of rain that had been pummeling the area.
There was a “wave of panic” and some roofs to caved in, Mayor Crisoforo Otero Heredia said, but luckily there were no injuries.
The quake came from the Guerrero Seismic Gap. The GSG is a 125-mile section on Mexico’s Pacific coast where tectonic plates come together and have now been locked. This lock has been causing huge amounts of energy to be stored up with potentially devastating effects, the USGS said.
“The earthquake is indeed within the Guerrero Seismic Gap,” USGS research geophysicist William Barnhart said. “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.”
Apparently Mexico City is exceedingly vulnerable to large earthquakes because of its location. Construction of the city sits on top of muddy sediment from drained lake beds. They are said to shake like jelly when earthquakes hit.
Luckily, this quake wasn’t too destructive and no lives were lost. The Guerrero Seismic Gap has the potential, according to scientists, to produce much stronger earthquakes. Some could be in the 8.1-8.4 range, which would be like the one that killed 9,500 people and devastated large sections of Mexico City in 1985.
Hopefully they won’t see quakes of that magnitude anytime soon.
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