Thursday, April 7, 2011

Mexico hit by earthquake

Posted: 07 April 2011 2151 hrs

MEXICO CITY : An earthquake measuring 6.5 struck southern and central Mexico on Thursday, but there were no initial reports of damage or casualties, Mexican and US officials said.

The tremor was strong enough to shake buildings and restaurants hundreds of miles away in the capital Mexico City, residents said.

US experts said the quake hit the Veracruz region at 8:11 am (1311 GMT) some 57 kilometres (35 miles) from the city of Las Choapas. It was 167 kilometres (101 miles) deep.

The US Geological Survey measured the quake at 6.5 on the moment magnitude scale, and said the epicentre was almost 600 kilometres (370 miles) east of the capital.

No warning of a destructive tsunami was generated, the Pacific Tsunami Warning centre said in a statement.

The quake was especially felt in the southern state of Chiapas, which borders on Guatemala, an AFP correspondent reported.

In Mexico City - where memories of the magnitude 8.1 quake of September 19, 1985 that killed between 10,000 and 30,000 people remain fresh - restaurants and school buildings quickly emptied out.

"It was a strong one, and we have activated all the monitoring systems but have had no reports of damage or victims," said Elias Miguel Moreno, in charge of the Civil Protection office for Mexico City.

In Xalapa, the capital city of Veracruz, where earthquakes are not common, many people ran out into the streets, but there no early reports of damage or any injuries.

Thursday's quake is the strongest recorded so far this year in Mexico.

In October, a 6.9-magnitude earthquake hit the northwestern state of Baja California Sur, but caused only minor damage.

And in April 2010, a 7.2-magnitude earthquake killed two people and damaged thousands of homes in Baja California close to the US border.

- AFP/ms

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