November 24, 2020

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Major 7.4 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Mexico; Two People Killed


  • The powerful quake struck just before 10:30 a.m. local time Tuesday.
  • There were no immediate reports of widespread damage.
  • A tsunami warning was issued for Mexico’s Pacific Coast.
  • At least two people were killed and one person was injured in the quake.

A powerful 7.4 magnitude earthquake rattled the Mexican state of Oaxaca Tuesday morning and prompted tsunami warnings for Mexico and parts of Central America.

The quake struck at 10:29 a.m. local time Tuesday about 7 miles southwest of Santa María Zapotitlán, on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said one person was killed and another injured when a building collapsed in Huatulco, Oaxaca. Otherwise he said reports were of minor damage such as broken windows and collapsed walls.

Oaxaca Gov. Alejandro Murat later said a second person was killed in an apparent house collapse in the tiny mountain village of San Juan Ozolotepec.

Murat also said a hospital caring for COVID-19 patients suffered structural damage and had to be evicted, according to Telemundo.

There had been more than 140 aftershocks, most of them small.

Soon after the quake, the U.S. Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said tsunami waves of 3 to 9 feet above tide level were possible along Mexico’s coast. Smaller waves were possible in other parts of Central and South America. No warning was issued for the United States.

Later in the afternoon, the warning center said the tsunami danger had passed and the largest wave measured was 2.3 feet.

In Huatulco, a coastal resort town, the earthquake knocked goods off shelves and some rubble from buildings, The Associated Press reported.

Mari González of the Princess Mayev hotel in Huatulco said staff and guests evacuates the building during the quake. Forty-five minutes later they were still outside as strong aftershocks continued.

“It was strong, very strong,” she said.

Local news media reported damage to some buildings in the state capital, Oaxaca city. State officials said they were looking for damage.

A journalist in Mexico City said the quake was felt there, nearly 500 miles away.

Power outages also were reported.

Pemex, Mexico’s state-run oil company, said the quake caused a fire at its refinery in the city of Salina Cruz, relatively near the epicenter. It said one worker was injured and the flames were quickly extinguished.

This quake happened when the Cocos plate, which is to the southwest of the area, slipped under the North American plate, U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Paul Earle told AP.

“You’ve got all sorts of plates and they’re moving quickly,” Earle said. “The important thing is how fast the plates are moving relative to each other.”

The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.



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