People wait on the streets of Mexico City after a major earthquake – Copyright AFP/File Yasuyoshi CHIBA
Sofia Miselem and Daniel Rook
A powerful earthquake hit western Mexico on Monday, killing at least one person and causing panic in Mexico City on the anniversary of two devastating aftershocks hundreds of miles away.
The National Seismological Agency said the quake had a magnitude of 7.4 at a depth of 15 kilometers (nine miles), while the USGS estimated a magnitude of 7.6.
“I thought I was going to have a heart attack!” said Gabriela Ramirez, 58, one of many city residents who took to the streets.
The epicenter was near the Pacific coast, about 400 km west of the capital and 59 km (37 miles) south of Coalcoman in Michoacán, according to seismologists.
One person has died as a result of falling debris in Manzanillo in the western state of Colima, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said on Twitter.
According to him, there were no serious injuries in Mexico City.
It was the third major earthquake on record, hitting Mexico on September 19th.
Earthquake warnings in Mexico City came less than an hour after disaster relief drills were held in the capital in 1985 and 2017.
“It was terrible. We fell as soon as we felt it when the alarm sounded,” said Karina Suarez, 37, after evacuating her home in the capital.
– ‘Ring of Fire’ –
In Mexico City, residents reported minor damage and broken glass on some buildings on social media.
The country’s civil protection agency said there was no tsunami threat.
Mexico lies in the world’s most seismically and volcanically active zone, known as the Ring of Fire, where the Pacific Plate meets the surrounding tectonic plates.
On September 19, 1985, an 8.1 magnitude earthquake in Mexico City killed more than 10,000 people and destroyed hundreds of buildings.
On the anniversary of this earthquake in 2017, a 7.1 magnitude earthquake killed about 370 people, mostly in the capital.
Mexico City is built in a natural basin filled with sediment from a former lake, making it especially vulnerable to earthquakes.
The capital, which, along with its surrounding urban areas, is home to more than 20 million people, operates an early warning system using seismic monitors to give residents enough time to evacuate buildings.