Deaths and damage reported after mega earthquake hits Mexico

UPDATE 5:20 PM | AT least eight people have been killed and significant damage has been reported following a powerful magnitude 8.1 earthquake off the southern coast of Mexico.

The quake stuck near the Middle America Trench along the Ring of Fire, around 87km southwest of Pijijiapan, and rattled buildings in Mexico City.

It’s the biggest earthquake ever recorded in the country, the depth of which has since been revised from 33km to 69km.


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Videos uploaded to social media from Mexico City captured the moment the earthquake struck, showing buildings and other structures swaying violently.

The Governor of the Mexican state of Chiapas has confirmed at least three people have been killed.

The Associated Press is reporting a further five people, including two children, have been killed in Tabasco state.

The death toll is likely to rise as authorities start to make their way into the disaster zones.

Images emerging from Chiapas show significant damage to buildings.

Nine aftershocks measuring between 5.7 and 4.3 have been recorded following the initial quake, which has since been revised down from a magnitude 8.2 to an 8.1.

A tsunami warning is current for several countries in the region, with waves up to three metres, possibly higher, likely along some parts of the Mexico coastline.

Other photos uploaded to social media show the eerie moment water along the coastline started to retreat and be sucked back out to sea.

Today’s quake occurred as the result of “normal faulting at an intermediate depth”, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Over the last century, the region within 250km of the hypocenter of today’s quake has experienced eight earthquakes greater than magnitude 7.0 on the Richter scale.

Most occurred in the subduction zone to the southeast of today’s event, near the Mexico-Guatemala border, and none were larger than a magnitude 7.5.

The largest, a magnitude 7.4 thrust faulting earthquake offshore Guatemala in November 2012 killed 48 people and injured 150 more.

Around 5,000 people were killed and widespread significant damage was reported when a magnitude 8.0 quake struck Mexico City in September of 1985.

UPDATE 4:00 PM | A POWERFUL earthquake off the coast of Mexico has been upgraded to a magnitude 8.2 and has triggered a tsunami warning for the immediate area.

The quake struck the Middle America Trench, along the Ring of Fire, around 119km south-southwest of Tres Pico and west felt as far away as Mexico City, according to the US Geological Survey.

As a result, a tsunami warning has been issued for at least eight countries in the area.

Waves higher than three metres are possible in Mexico, while smaller hazardous waves are likely to impact Guatemala, Ecuador, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Kiribati.

A strong 6.1 magnitude aftershock was recorded around 30 minutes after the initial tremor.

The Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre (JATWC) says there is NO tsunami threat to Australia.

It’s the strongest earthquake to hit the area since 1985.

The Australian Government’s travel advisory agency Smartraveller has advised Australian’s in the area to follow the evacuation instruction of local authorities.

FIRST at 3:00 PM | A POWERFUL earthquake measuring 8.0 on the Richter scale has been detected off the coast of Mexico, triggering a Tsunami warning for parts of Central and South America.

The quake was centered at a depth of 33km along the Middle America Trench, around 119km south-southwest of Tres Pico, according to the United States Geological Survey.

The strength of the quake is likely to be revised either up or down once all data has been analysed.

The Middle America Trench is a major subduction zone, marking the boundary between the Rivera, Cocos and Nazca tectonic plates, and the North American and Caribbean plates.

The trench is the 18th deepest in the world (6,669 m) and stretches from Mexico to Costa Rica.

(earthquake.usgs.gov)

The powerful tremor shook Mexico’s capital causing people to flee buildings, AP reports. 

The U.S. National Weather Service has issued a tsunami warning for the area.

The agency warns widespread hazardous tsunami waves will be possible in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Honduras, Ecuador over the next three hours.

So far, there are no reports of any injuries or casualties.

The Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre (JATWC) says there is NO tsunami threat to Australia.

No further information was available at the time of writing.

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