A man removes rubble from a building damaged by an earthquake in Oaxaca, Mexico, Tuesday, June 23, 2020. (AP Photo/Luis Alberto Cruz Hernandez)

A man removes rubble from a building damaged by an earthquake in Oaxaca, Mexico, Tuesday, June 23, 2020. (AP Photo/Luis Alberto Cruz Hernandez)

Powerful earthquake shakes southern Mexico, at least 2 dead

The U.S. Geologic Survey said the magnitude 7.4 quake hit at 10:29 a.m.

A powerful earthquake centred near the southern Mexico resort of Huatulco killed at least two people, swayed buildings in Mexico City and sent thousands fleeing into the streets.

Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said one person was killed and another injured in a building collapse 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.

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

López Obrador said there had been more than 140 aftershocks, most of them small.

Seismic alarms sounded midmorning with enough warning for residents to exit buildings. Power was knocked out to some areas.

Helicopters flew over downtown Mexico City and police patrols sounded their sirens.

Groups of people still milled around in close proximity on streets and sidewalks in some neighbourhoods of the capital about an hour after the quake. Many were not wearing masks despite past appeals from municipal officials for them to do so as a way to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.

The U.S. Geologic Survey said the magnitude 7.4 quake hit at 10:29 a.m. (11:29 a.m. Eastern) along Mexico’s southern Pacific coast at a depth of 16 miles (26 km). The epicenter was 7 miles (12 km) south-southwest of Santa Maria Zapotitlan in Oaxaca state

It was felt in Guatemala and throughout south and central Mexico.

In Huatulco, a laid-back beach destination known for surfing and small protected coves, the earthquake knocked goods off shelves and some rubble from buildings.

Mari González of the Princess Mayev hotel in Huatulco said staff and guests were able to evacuate the building before the quake, but that 45 minutes after the initial quake they were still outside as strong aftershocks continued.

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

ALSO READ: UBC study seeks to learn if at-home workout apps improve health during pandemic

González said there was some visible broken glass and mirrors, but no major damage. The staff was waiting for the aftershocks to dissipate before fully evaluating the property.

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

The USGS estimated that some 2 million people felt strong or moderate shaking and another 49 million felt weak or light shaking.

The earthquake hit a quake-prone region where four underground tectonic plates come together. In the past 35 years, there have been at least seven magnitude 7 or greater earthquakes, killing around 10,000 people — most of them in a 1985 8.0 quake.

“This has the potential to be a deadly earthquake and cause significant damage,” U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Paul Earle said. “This area is capable of and has had larger earthquakes in the past.”

“There will be aftershocks,” Earle said. “It is not unexpected to see a magnitude 6 at this point and a number of smaller ones.”

This quake happened when the Cocos plate, which is to the southwest of the area, slipped under the North American plate, Earle said.

“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 U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast a tsunami threat with waves three to 10 feet above tide levels along parts of the coasts of Mexico. Smaller waves were expected through Central America, Peru and Ecuador.

Guatemala’s national disaster agency issued a tsunami alert for its southern Pacific coast forecasting the arrival of waves up to a meter high. It advised people to move away from the sea.

__

Associated Press writers Chris Torchia in Mexico City and Seth Borenstein in Washington contributed to this report.

Christopher Sherman, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

EarthquakeMexico

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Athletes with Fairway Gorge Paddling Club’s open men’s staff head out on a high-tech outrigger canoe. The club raised more than $16,500 at its 2020 Wetdasche event. (Courtesy of Fairway Gorge Paddling Club)
Victoria paddling group breaks fundriasing record

Fairway Gorge Paddling Club’s 2020 Wetdashe event raises more than $16,500

Sipili Molia, regional kettle manager, shows off the Salvation Army’s new contactless donation system for the 2020 Christmas Kettle Campaign outside municipal hall on Dec. 1. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: Tech offers hope as Salvation Army sees need skyrocket across B.C.

Charity is equipping hundreds of kettles across B.C. with ‘touchless giving technology’

Kathy MacNeil, president and chief executive officer of Island Health, Dawn Thomas, acting deputy health minister and Island Health’s vice president, Indigenous health and diversity and Chief Don Tom of Tsartlip First Nation, stand out Saanich Peninsula Hospital Tuesday morning, when they also answered questions about a new report that “widespread systemic racism against Indigenous people” in the provincial health care system. (Island Health/Submitted)
Head of Island Health says Saanich Peninsula Hospital not part of racist guessing game

Tsartlip First Nations Chief Don Tom welcomes changes following report but promises future scrutiny

Firefighters on scene for a gas leak in the 800-block of Viewfield Road in Esquimalt on Dec. 1. (Vanessa Nicholson photo)
No injuries after vehicle strikes Esquimalt gas line

Esquimalt Fire Rescue was called to the 800-block of Viewfield Road at 5 p.m.

The Capital Regional District and the Habitat Acquisition Fund have agreed to partner on the purchase of the $3.4-million Mountain View Forest in Saanich to establish a new regional park. (Photo courtesy the Habitat Acquisition Trust)
CRD, Habitat Acquisition Trust to spend $3.4M on 20-hectare forest park in Saanich

Mountian Road Forest property to be conserved as regional park

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

Dave Wallace coached the Parksville Royals for 23 years. (PQB News file photo)
B.C. baseball community mourns death of legendary Vancouver Island coach Dave Wallace

‘All who knew Dave and his passion for the game will miss him greatly’

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

MLA Jennifer Whiteside is B.C.’s new minister of education. She is speaking out against Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld and asking him to resign. (Black Press)
New education minister calls on Chilliwack trustee to resign

Whiteside echoes former minister’s promise to look at options to remove Barry Neufeld

Peter Beckett. ~ File photo
Supreme Court of Canada to decide if it will hear appeal in 2010 wife murder trial

Peter Beckett has stood trial twice for murder in connection with the death of his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett

Tabor Home in Abbotsford. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
B.C.’s largest COVID-19 care-home outbreak records 19 deaths, 147 cases

Tabor Home in Abbotsford has been battling outbreak since Nov. 4

Most Read