A man removes rubble from a building damaged by an earthquake in Oaxaca, Mexico, Tuesday, June 23, 2020. (AP Photo/Luis Alberto Cruz Hernandez)

Powerful earthquake shakes southern Mexico, at least 2 dead

The U.S. Geologic Survey said the magnitude 7.4 quake hit at 10:29 a.m.

A powerful earthquake centred near the southern Mexico resort of Huatulco killed at least two people, swayed buildings in Mexico City and sent thousands fleeing into the streets.

Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said one person was killed and another injured in a building collapse in Huatulco, Oaxaca. Otherwise he said reports were of minor damage such as broken windows and collapsed walls. Oaxaca Gov. Alejandro Murat later said a second person was killed in an apparent house collapse in the tiny mountain village of San Juan Ozolotepec.

The state-run oil company known as Pemex said the quake caused a fire at its refinery in the Pacific coast city of Salina Cruz, relatively near the epicenter. It said one worker was injured and the flames were quickly extinguished.

López Obrador said there had been more than 140 aftershocks, most of them small.

Seismic alarms sounded midmorning with enough warning for residents to exit buildings. Power was knocked out to some areas.

Helicopters flew over downtown Mexico City and police patrols sounded their sirens.

Groups of people still milled around in close proximity on streets and sidewalks in some neighbourhoods of the capital about an hour after the quake. Many were not wearing masks despite past appeals from municipal officials for them to do so as a way to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.

The U.S. Geologic Survey said the magnitude 7.4 quake hit at 10:29 a.m. (11:29 a.m. Eastern) along Mexico’s southern Pacific coast at a depth of 16 miles (26 km). The epicenter was 7 miles (12 km) south-southwest of Santa Maria Zapotitlan in Oaxaca state

It was felt in Guatemala and throughout south and central Mexico.

In Huatulco, a laid-back beach destination known for surfing and small protected coves, the earthquake knocked goods off shelves and some rubble from buildings.

Mari González of the Princess Mayev hotel in Huatulco said staff and guests were able to evacuate the building before the quake, but that 45 minutes after the initial quake they were still outside as strong aftershocks continued.

“It was strong, very strong,” she said.

ALSO READ: UBC study seeks to learn if at-home workout apps improve health during pandemic

González said there was some visible broken glass and mirrors, but no major damage. The staff was waiting for the aftershocks to dissipate before fully evaluating the property.

Local news media reported damage to some buildings in the state capital, Oaxaca city. State officials said they were looking for damage.

The USGS estimated that some 2 million people felt strong or moderate shaking and another 49 million felt weak or light shaking.

The earthquake hit a quake-prone region where four underground tectonic plates come together. In the past 35 years, there have been at least seven magnitude 7 or greater earthquakes, killing around 10,000 people — most of them in a 1985 8.0 quake.

“This has the potential to be a deadly earthquake and cause significant damage,” U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Paul Earle said. “This area is capable of and has had larger earthquakes in the past.”

“There will be aftershocks,” Earle said. “It is not unexpected to see a magnitude 6 at this point and a number of smaller ones.”

This quake happened when the Cocos plate, which is to the southwest of the area, slipped under the North American plate, Earle said.

“You’ve got all sorts of plates and they’re moving quickly,” Earle said. “The important thing is how fast the plates are moving relative to each other.”

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast a tsunami threat with waves three to 10 feet above tide levels along parts of the coasts of Mexico. Smaller waves were expected through Central America, Peru and Ecuador.

Guatemala’s national disaster agency issued a tsunami alert for its southern Pacific coast forecasting the arrival of waves up to a meter high. It advised people to move away from the sea.

__

Associated Press writers Chris Torchia in Mexico City and Seth Borenstein in Washington contributed to this report.

Christopher Sherman, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

EarthquakeMexico

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

Two new COVID-19 cases reported in Interior Health

The total number of Interior Health cases since the beginning of the pandemic is now at 522

Greens, Liberals, NDP field Fraser-Nicola candidates ahead of October election

Incumbent Jackie Tegart has two opposing candidates after snap election called Monday

Work has started on 20 units of seniors’ housing in Clinton

Much-delayed project has been in the works for almost a decade

Cache Creek firefighters plan bigger, better Halloween fireworks

‘With so much uncertainty in the world it’s nice to know that one community event is staying intact’

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

B.C. marriage annulled because husband was unable to have sex with wife

Husband did not disclose any sexual health concerns to his wife prior to marriage

White Rock’s namesake spray-painted with Black Lives Matter slogan

Vandalism occurred sometime between Friday and Saturday

B.C. VOTES 2020: B.C. Liberals vow to eliminate sales tax for a year

From 7% to zero, then back in at 3% to stimulate economy

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The holiday everyone needs this year: Vote for your favourite in Fat Bear Week 2020

Voters will get to decide who gets to take home this year’s most coveted prize

Canadian ski resorts wrestle with pandemic-vs.-profit dilemma as COVID-19 persists

Few are actually restricting the total number of skiers they allow on the hill

Victoria-area RCMP locate high-risk sex offender thanks to help of taxi cab driver

Scott Jones wanted on a Canada-wide warrant, ‘a risk to women and girls,’ police say

Most Read