Quake Shakes Mexico; At Least 14 Dead, Dozens Injured
MEXICO CITY (AP) _ A strong earthquake shook Mexico’s Pacific Coast today, killing at least 14 people and injuring dozens in southern Jalisco state. High-rise buildings swayed crazily in Mexico City, frightening people into the streets.
It was the second powerful quake to hit Mexico in a month.
Jalisco state spokeswoman Claudio Villalobos told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that the 14 dead and 80 injured were reported from the two small towns of Tenamaxtlan and America, near the Pacific Coast.
Both towns were isolated by rockslides and collapsed bridges, and telephone and power were reported out.
Today’s temblor had a preliminary reading of 7.5, the National Seismological Service said. The epicenter was located three miles off the Pacific Coast between the states of Colima and Jalisco, some 300 miles west of Mexico City.
Radio news reports, which could not be immediately confirmed, said there may be more casualties in the small town of Cihuatlan, about 18 miles from Manzanillo in Colima state. But roads to the town were blocked and there was no power and telephone service.
The quake, which gave the capital a severe shaking, also was strongly felt in Michoacan, Lalisco and Puebla states. It struck at 9:37 a.m. (11:37 a.m. EDT), lasted about two minutes and was followed by two immediate, smaller aftershocks.
The U.S. Geological Survey in Washington, D.C., said the tremor measured 7.6 magnitude and was felt as far away as Dallas and Oklahoma City. It said the quake was centered 15 miles southeast of Manzanillo, 325 miles west of Mexico City.
``I thought I was getting faint, but then realized it was a quake,″ said Francisco Garrido Flores, selling orange juice from a street stand in Mexico City. ``It makes you worry that there could me more _ a series.″
Power and telephone service were interrupted for about an hour on the west side of Mexico City. Trading on Mexico’s stock market came to a halt but resumed 40 minutes later.
``It was horrible _ horrible. I just went running down the stairwell,″ said Aurera Villa, a secretary in a high-rise office building on Reforma Avenue, the main thoroughfare. Her nerves, she said, were shaken by the Sept. 14 quake across central Mexico that killed five people and was felt in Mexico City.
``This gave me a tremendous scare,″ said Araceli Guerrero, 21, a receptionist with the bank Banorte. ``I was a student in 1985 when the big quake hit us, and I can’t stand any kind of shaking now.″
Mexico’s ``big quake″ struck on Sept. 19, 1985, with an epicenter 250 miles west of Mexico City, killing at least 6,000 people and destroying or badly damaging thousands of buildings. Most of the casualties were in Mexico City.
Most Mexican quakes occur along a long swath of coastline from the Guatemalan border to a point near Puerto Vallarta, where the Cocos Plate of the earth’s crust is thrusting under the North American Plate.
While Mexico City is often hundreds of miles away from the epicenter, it is vulnerable because much of it sits atop the muddy sediments of drained lake beds. They jiggle like jelly when the quake waves hit.
Dallas police received reports of window blinds shaking, floors moving and people losing balance in two downtown office buildings, spokeswoman Vicki Hawkins said. Neither injuries nor damage was reported, she said.