Earthquakes What Can we Get From Them

Earthquake hits Mexico

This Tuesday, March 20, 2012, a 7.4 magnitude earthquake hited Mexico at at 06:02:48 PM – Lisbon time. Its epicenter was about 15 miles (25 kilometers) east of Ometepec, Guerrero.

According to USGS, this earthquake occurred as a result of thrust-faulting on or near the plate boundary interface between the Cocos and North America plates. 

The focus of this earthquake was located about 20 km (12.4 miles) depth, on the subduction zone interface between these plates, approximately 100 km northeast of the Middle America Trench. Here, the Cocos plate begins its descent into the mantle beneath Mexico, moving northeastwards at a rate of 60mm/yr.

At least 500 homes in the southern coastal state were damaged, and multiple houses collapsed in the Ometepec area too. The head of Guerrero’s civil protection department said officials had confirmed 200 damaged homes in the town. That number could increase when assessments of the area continue Wednesday, he said.
In the states of Oxaca, Vera Cruz and Guerrero phone service had been knocked out.
Residents rushed into the streets after feeling the temblor in Mexico City. Tourists and residents also felt the earthquake in the resort city of Acapulco, located about 100 miles (200 km) from the quake’s epicenter.

Firefighters work to remove a bus damaged by a bridge which collapsed following a strong quake that hit Mexico, March 20, 2012. Source: Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images

ABC News’ reporter, Alicia Tejada spoke on the phone with Marco Martinez, an employee at a perfume and makeup shop in Guerrero. Martinez said some merchandise fell and broke and some cracks appeared in the wall. 
All the employees at the shop felt the tremors. “We all dropped to the floor as soon as we felt it,” Martinez told ABC News by telephone. “Merchandise was falling and many of our perfumes are broken, but everyone is safe. That’s what matters. “We’re scared and we don’t want to go outside.”
Martinez said he was “too scared to be on the phone right now” because she still felt tremors. In Oxaca there were two strong aftershocks reported by residents.

Destruction inside a home in Guerrero

Workers and resident gather at the Angel de la Independencia square after evacuating buildings in Mexico City during a 7.6 magnitude earthquake Tuesday. (Daruio Lopez-Mills - AP)Workers and resident gather at the Angel de la Independencia square after evacuating buildings in Mexico City during a 7.6 magnitude earthquake Tuesday. (Daruio Lopez-Mills – AP)

But this is not the first event in this region. Historically, there have been several significant earthquakes along the southern coast of Mexico. In 1932, a magnitude 8.4 thrust earthquake struck in the region of Jalisco, several hundred kilometers to the northwest of this event. On October 9, 1995 a magnitude 8.0 earthquake struck in the Colima-Jalisco region, killing at least 49 people and leaving 1,000 homeless. On September 19, 1985, the deadliest nearby earthquake occurred in the Michoacan region 470 km to the northwest of this event. This magnitude 8.0 earthquake killed at least 9,500 people, injured about 30,000, and left 100,000 people homeless. More recently, in 2003, the city of Colima was shaken by a magnitude 7.6 earthquake 640 km to the northwest of today’s event. 29 people were killed, and more than 2,000 homes were destroyed, leaving more than 10,000 homeless. 

Mexican Red Cross voluntary helps the vitctims after the earthquake.


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    Thomas Neal

    Thomas Neal was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. He was a bookseller before shifting to publishing where he worked at a literary development company, a creative writing website for millennials, and as a book reviewer of adult and young adult novels. He lives in New York City and is obviously a voracious reader. He has just released his debut novel and working on his second already!

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