Major 6.5 quake hits southern Mexico

A major 6.5-magnitude earthquake struck Mexico on Saturday with officials reporting two deaths, as the quake was strongly felt in the capital Mexico City and southern Guerrero state.

The temblor occurred at 7.47pm (1.47am GMT on Sunday) about 166km south-west of Mexico City, at a depth of about 65km, according to US Geological Survey.

The epicentre was located 133km north of the large beach resort city of Acapulco, on the country’s Pacific coast.

The death toll included an 11-year-old boy in the town of Iguana and another fatality on a road near Paloblanco, said Arturo Martinez, a spokesperson for the government of Chilpancingo in Guerrero state.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning centre said no destructive Pacific-wide tsunami was expected.


USGS originally measured the quake at a stronger 6.7 magnitude, but downgraded it to 6.5 about an hour later.

Mexico’s President Felipe Calderón issued a comment through his official Twitter account, saying there was “no major damage reported at the time, however the reports are preliminary”.

“If you are aware of damage, please tell us,” he added.

Some areas of the capital, where thousands of pilgrims were congregating for the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, experienced temporary electricity blackouts, and cellphone networks quickly became saturated.

The quake sent hundreds of people celebrating upcoming Christmas festivities at the Telephone Workers Union rushing into the streets, an Agence France-Presse reporter witnessed.

Much of Mexico lies on the Pacific Ring of Fire, where most of the world’s earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur.

A historic 8.1-magnitude quake struck off Mexico’s Pacific coast in 1985, and while it was centred about 350km from Mexico City, it devastated the capital, killing at least 10 000 people. — AFP

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