Powerful earthquake rattles Mexico, shakes buildings

MEXICO CITY Fri Apr 18, 2014 7:51pm EDT

1 of 7. A man enters an apartment building with cracked walls and rubble on the floor following an earthquake in Mexico City April 18, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Bernardo Montoya

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - A powerful earthquake shook Mexico on Friday, damaging more than 100 homes in the southwestern state of Guerrero and opening cracks in some buildings but there were no reports of deaths.

Striking close to the popular beach resort of Acapulco, the 7.2 magnitude quake sent people scurrying out of homes and hotels, causing brief panic from the Pacific coast to states in central and eastern parts of Mexico.

At least 127, mostly adobe homes were damaged in Guerrero. In the state capital Chilpancingo, a tower of the cathedral suffered cracks along with a few other public buildings, a spokesman for local emergency services said.

But there were no reports of deaths or major damage.

Some people in Mexico City fled homes in panic when the quake hit. Electricity was cut off in parts of the city and some residents said paintings fell off the walls, while small parts of masonry crumbled inside apartment buildings.

"I had to hold on to a tree, like a drunk," said Pedro Hernandez, 68, a doorman working in central Mexico City.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said the earthquake's epicenter was about 37 km (23 miles) north of the municipality of Tecpan de Galeana in Guerrero, and it struck at the relatively shallow depth of about 24 km (15 miles).

Lasting more than a minute, the quake was felt as far away as the states Puebla and Tlaxcala in central eastern Mexico.

It also caused some minor landslides and damaged a bridge on the road between Acapulco and the resort of Zihuatanejo to the northwest, emergency services in Guerrero said.

State oil giant Pemex said its refineries and other installations were operating normally after the tremors.

An employee of the Fairmont hotel in Acapulco, said the situation was calm and that guests quickly returned to the building after the quake struck on Friday morning.

"The structure is fine," the woman, who identified herself only as Ana, said by telephone.

Cesar Sanchez, 24, a student living in Chilpancingo, said he got a big shock when the quake started.

"I was in bed, and some things fell that have never fallen. The dogs outside were barking and barking," Sanchez said.

A devastating 8.1-magnitude earthquake in 1985 killed thousands of people in Mexico City. In March 2012, a 7.4 magnitude quake hit Mexico but did not cause major damage.

(Additional reporting by Michael O'Boyle, Gabriela Lopez, Anahi Rama, Sandra Maler and Noe Torres; Editing by Kieran Murray)

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Comments (3)
sophie11rose wrote:
Doesn’t it seem like there have been a lot of earth quakes recently? What is going on.

Apr 18, 2014 10:22pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Scary. It’s only a matter of time before the United States is hit with a big earthquake(s), especially on the West Coast but also along the Mississippi. Worse yet, compared to other earthquake prone regions on the planet, the USA probably has very poor emergency response programs as illustrated by its totally abysmal reaction to Hurricane Katrina which. comparatively, is nothing to what will happen when mother nature’s big geologic upsets hit America, whether big earthquakes or volancoes — Mt. St. Helens having been just a geologic blip compared to when Baker and/or Rainer let finally pop. As well, it will be interesting to watch what happens when the next round of really devastating hurricanes hammer the United States East Coast and the Gulf of Mexico. All these things will eventually happen, perhaps soon.

Apr 18, 2014 11:08pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Neurochuck wrote:
Having stayed on the California coast, in Long Beach and Santa Barbara and SF, I am struck by how many are vulnerable to an offshore quake/tsunami. Perhaps 10 to 30 minutes warning, for millions to flee.
The onshore fault lines are mapped and monitored, and some precautions taken, and I don’t know what the geology is like 10 miles offshore.

Apr 18, 2014 12:28am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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