Strong earthquake shakes Mexico’s Pacific coast;  1 killed

Strong earthquake shakes Mexico’s Pacific coast; 1 killed

MEXICO CITY (AP) – A magnitude 7.6 earthquake shook Mexico’s central Pacific coast on Monday, killing at least one person and setting off a seismic alert in the shaking capital on the anniversary of two earlier tremors.

There were at least some early reports of damage to buildings from the quake, which struck at 1:05 pm local time, according to the United States Geological Survey, which initially put the magnitude at 7.5.

He said the quake was centered 37 kilometers (23 miles) southeast of Aquila near the state border of Colima and Michoacan and at a depth of 15.1 kilometers (9.4 miles).

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said via Twitter that the secretary of the navy informed him that one person was killed in the port city of Manzanillo, Colima when a wall collapsed at a mall.

In Coalcoman, Michoacan, near the epicenter, buildings were damaged, but there were no immediate reports of injuries.

“It started slowly and then it was really strong and it went on and on until it started to take off,” said 16-year-old Carla Cárdenas, who lives in Coalcoman. Cárdenas ran out of her family’s hotel and stayed with neighbors.

She said the hotel and several houses along the street showed cracks in the walls and parts of facades and roofs were broken.

“In the hotel, the roof of the parking area boomed and fell to the ground, and there are cracks in the walls on the second floor,” Cárdenas said.

She said the town’s hospital had been seriously damaged, but so far she had not heard of anyone being injured.

Mexico’s National Civil Defense agency said, based on historical tsunami data in Mexico, variations of as much as 32 inches (82 cm) were possible in coastal water levels near the epicenter. The US Tsunami Warning Center said hazardous tsunami waves were possible for coasts within 186 miles (300 kilometers) of the epicenter.

Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said there were no reports of damage in the capital

Alarms for the new tremor came less than an hour after an earthquake alarm went off in a nationwide earthquake simulation that marked major quakes that struck on the same date in 1985 and 2017. The quake killed at least of magnitude 8.0 near the coast of Guerrero state in 1985. 9,500 people. More than 360 people died in the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that struck in 2017.

“This is a coincidence,” that this is the third earthquake on September 19, said US Geological Survey seismologist Paul Earle. “There is no physical reason or statistical tendency toward earthquakes in any given month in Mexico.”

There is also no season or month for major earthquakes anywhere in the world, Earle said. But there is something predictable: People look for and sometimes find a coincidence that looks like patterns.

“We knew we’d get this issue as soon as it happened,” Earle said. “Sometimes it’s just a coincidence.”

The tremor was not related to or caused by the drill an hour or so earlier, nor was it connected to a damaging temblor in Taiwan the day before, Earle said.

Humberto Garza stood outside a restaurant in the Roma neighborhood of Mexico City holding his 3-year-old son. Like many milling outside after the earthquake, Garza said that the earthquake alarm was sounded so soon after the annual simulation that he was not sure it was true.

“I heard the alarm, but it sounded far away,” he said.

Outside the city’s environmental ombudsman office, dozens of employees remained. Some of them looked visibly shaken.

Power was out in parts of the city, including stoplights, the capital’s already notorious traffic snarling.

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AP writers Christopher Sherman in Mexico City and Seth Borenstein in Washington contributed to this report.

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