July 6, 2007 / 1:45 AM / 12 years ago

Strong 6.1 magnitude quake rocks southern Mexico

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - A forceful 6.1 magnitude earthquake shook two poor southern Mexican farming states on Thursday, scaring residents but apparently causing no injuries or damage, authorities said.

A forceful 6.1 magnitude earthquake shook two poor southern Mexican farming states on Thursday, scaring residents but apparently causing no injuries or damage, authorities said. REUTERS/Graphic

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake struck 24 miles from Tuxtla Gutierrez, the capital of the coffee-growing state of Chiapas, and just over the border from the state of Oaxaca. Both states are largely rural regions with strong indigenous populations.

The Mexican government said shockwaves from the quake were felt hundreds of miles away.

Emergency services said people were panicked by the temblor, which knocked out power and mobile telephone services for about 10 minutes when it hit just after 8 p.m local time

(0100 GMT).

“We felt it hard here,” said ambulance worker Hernan Meza in the Chiapas town of Cintalapa, close to the epicenter. “It’s something I hadn’t felt for a long time.”

Cintalapa has a population of about 74,000 people and is surrounded by coffee and corn plantations.

The civil protection agency in Chiapas said it was sweeping the area to look for material damage around the epicenter, close to the border with Oaxaca.

Emergency services in both states said no injuries were initially reported after the 78-mile (125-km) deep quake.

In Oaxaca, the earthquake shook hardest in the hot and windy low-lying Isthmus region, dominated by the Zapotec Indians and known for long, raucous street parties and parades.

“Some people were alarmed, it was very strong,” said Oaxacan emergency worker Gilberto Lopez.

The small oil port of Salina Cruz is located on the Isthmus’ Pacific coast.

Chiapas is home to a large population of ethnic Mayas and was thrust into the international spotlight when the Zapatista guerrilla army launched a short but bloody uprising in 1994.

Large areas are still under partial guerrilla control.

The state, Mexico’s main coffee growing region, was badly hit by landslides and flooding following Hurricane Stan in 2005.

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