7.6 magnitude earthquake with epicenter in Michoacán shook Mexico

Monday, September 19, 2022 | 5:09 p.m.

A high-intensity earthquake was felt on Monday in many states of Mexico just after a drill was carried out and on the same day that it shook strongly in 1985 and 2017. A first preliminary report speaks of only one death due to the collapse of a structure .

The United States Geological Survey (USGS, for its acronym in English) adjusted the magnitude of the tremor to 7.6 degrees -from the initial 7.5- with an epicenter between the states of Michoacán and Colima, on the Pacific coast Mexican. The tremor occurred at 1:05 p.m. local time (1805 GMT) and had a depth of 15.1 kilometers, which triggered alerts for a possible tsunami.

The National Coordination of Civil Protection asked the population to stay away from the beaches because “anomalous variations in sea level of up to 82 centimeters above the tide level in the region of earthquake generation” and “strong currents at the entrance of the ports”.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who was in contact with the governors of Michoacán and Colima, indicated that the only death reported two hours after the earthquake was a person in the port of Manzanillo, in Colima.

Laura Velazquez, head of the National Civil Protection Coordination, indicated that the death was caused by the fall of a structure inside a shopping center. She also indicated that they had news of an injury in Michoacán and of material damage in several hospitals in the area that were evacuated, including one in Coalcomán.

“It started slowly and then it was very high, and it went on and on until it began to calm down,” said Carla Cárdenas, a 16-year-old teenager who lives in that town, the closest to the epicenter, and who was in the hotel of her family.

The young woman said in a telephone conversation that some houses on her street have cracks in the walls and the collapse of part of the facades, but nothing of great magnitude. “At the hotel, the roof of the garage cracked and fell to the ground, and there are cracks in the walls of the second floor,” she said.

The mayor of Mexico City indicated on her social networks minutes after the earthquake that no damage had been reported in the capital at the moment, but five helicopters were still flying over the city. The tremor was felt in several states of the republic and in the capital it caused nervousness in many places due to the coincidence of the dates.

On September 19, 1985, the most damaging earthquake in the recent history of the country took place with thousands of deaths and in 2017 the tremor was repeated, claiming more than 360 lives, most of them in the capital.

That is why in Mexico City many had gestures of disbelief and nervousness when the buzz of the seismic alert sounded just over half an hour after the drill. Humberto Garza had his three-year-old son in his arms while he wondered if the earthquake was real this time. Outside public buildings, many officials waited in the street, visibly anxious, while power and telephone failures were detected in some areas.

But the moments of greatest tension took place where the greatest damage was reported just five years ago, such as next to the school that collapsed in 2017 and in which 19 children and seven adults died. The seismic movement interrupted a mass in memory of those victims.

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