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7.2 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Near Acapulco, Mexico, Shakes Buildings In Capital

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(USGS)

(USGS)

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MEXICO CITY (CBS SF) — A powerful magnitude 7.2 earthquake shook southern Mexico, rocking buildings all the way to the nation’s capital Friday morning. The epicenter is in the state of Guerrero, north of the resort town of Acapulco. The quake struck at 7:27 a.m. Pacific Time.  The initial magnitude was reported as 7.5 before the U.S. Geological Survey downgraded the quake.

There is no immediate word of damage injuries or casualties, but the automated population calculations show 40 million or more could feel the shaking, and 457,000 will feel heavy shaking and could face damages.

CBS Reporter Adrienne Bard was about 60 miles west of Mexico City during the quake, putting her closer to the epicenter of temblor towards the Pacific Ocean. Bard reported traffic lights were out, but that people were calming down a few hours after the fact.

“The city empties out on this Good Friday holiday, so that part was good, but it was a very scary incident,” she said.

Bard had counted about 16 after shocks by the time she had spoken to KCBS over the phone in the 10 o’clock hour. Some of them measured up to 4 points in magnitude. She said many Mexicans are on Spring Break celebrating Holy Week and had packed the beaches.

“It was a long one and a strong one. That’s really what has gotten people so nervous and fearful if there are going to be more quakes coming.”

Bard described the earthquake as lasting 38 to 40 seconds. “It came in waves,” she said. Many 911 calls were for people who had passed out in a panic.

An early warning system was activated about two minutes before the big 7.2. Bard said it worked “worked beautifully”. The system is available as an app for smartphones and news spread of what was about to come on Twitter.

Mexico City is especially vulnerable to shaking because of its construction on top of ancient lake beds. In 1985, an 8.1 magnitude quake killed 6,000 people and destroyed buildings in Mexico’s capital, even though the epicenter was 250 miles away, similar to Friday’s quake.

The major quake hit just as San Francisco was wrapping up ceremonies commemorating  the 108th anniversary of the 1906 earthquake that destroyed 80 percent of the city.

The Pacific Rim of Fire has been especially active in the past few weeks, with major quakes hitting Chile, New Guinea, and the other island nations in the South Pacific.

DAMAGE ESTIMATES: U.S. Geological Survey Automated Damage Data

 

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