Mexico hit by magnitude 7.6 quake (updated)

Reports are just now coming in of a Magnitude 7.9 7.6 earthquake striking Mexico, centered in the Mexican state of Guerrero Oaxaca.

The first AP item was Twitter-sized, and straight to the point: "Strong, long quake shakes Mexico City."

The center was about a hundred miles away from Acapulco, halfway between this popular resort-and-beaheadings town and the colonial city of Oaxaca. CBS News reports nine-foot waves at Acapulco beaches.

An informal scan of folks in Mexico whom I follow on Twitter suggests it was felt strongly in a wide area from the Guatemalan border to Mexico's capital city; structural damage seems limited so far; electricity mostly uninterrupted but cell and data service spotty. Aftershocks are causing jitters.

A statement from Mexican president Felipe Calderon: no serious damage reported.

* post updated to reflect new USGS data.


  1. yo – i tweeted this info already – no need to panic – I read earlier today Malia Obama is in Oaxaca for spring break – ok, now panic

      1. If that happened we’d know it was the wrath of God as Zeta territory is in one of the least seismically active areas of the world.

        Of course, as an atheist I’d first rule out the possibility that the Golfo  or Sinaloa cartels had acquired one of Barnes Wallace’s old Tallboy bombs before considering it might be the wrath of God.

  2. Two things:
    1. The height above sea level amplifies a quake’s effect, Mexico City is at 7,900 feet.  Where is the magnitude registered, at the city or at the source?
    2. Compounding the situation, under Mexico City is the ancient lake of Texcoco, so that the ground behaves like jell-o during a tremor, scary stuff.

    1. Magnitude is the strength of the tremor at the epicentre – the point on the surface directly above the focus where the earthquake actually happened. It is calculated from the effect of the shockwaves on nearby seismographs and is always subject to revision as new data is received. This one has been downgraded from a 7.9 to 7.6 which is a fourfold decrease in energy. On average there are between 10-20 of these every year around the world.

      Altitude has no effect on earthquake effects. The depth of the focus of the ‘quake – does – generally, shallow earthquakes have more effect as they deliver more energy per square metre of the surface than a comparable earthquake at greater depth.

      You’re right about tremors being amplified by soil and infill such as that under Mexico City and Kobe.

  3. My gf and I are vacationing in Mexico City.  We were on our way back towards town from Hidalgo when the quake hit, barely felt it where we were.  I’m happy to report that Mexico City as a whole seems fine, some of the traffic lights went out causing traffic jams, and some small rubble hit the sidewalks but by and large everything seems to be functioning as normal.

  4. Beautiful Oaxaca, the peaceful village of Pluma Hidalgo and the wonderful coffee of the hill country.

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