A deadly magnitude-8.2 earthquake struck the southern coast of Mexico on 7 September, killing dozens of people and injuring at least 200. A major earthquake registered by the USGS as M7.1 hit Puebla, Mexico at 18:14 UTC (13:14 local time) on September 19, 2017. subduction zone, Mexico City is subjected to both interplate (epicenter at plate boundary) and intraplate (epicenter inside the continental plate) earthquakes. As you bend it, the skin stretches around the outside of your elbow, but relaxes on the inside as your forearm and bicep come together. The quake had a magnitude of 8.1 and struck about 60 miles, or 96 kilometers, southwest of Pijijiapan, … And second, the sinking portion of the oceanic plate must be pulling downward pretty hard. You must login or create an account to comment. He tweets as @seismo_steve, Thu 21 Sep 2017 06.53 EDT (a) (b) (c) Figure 3. Following its head-on collision with the North American plate (to which Mexico belongs), the Cocos plate (a piece of crust beneath the Pacific Ocean) gradually sinks deeper into the earth under its own weight. Scott K. Johnson Mexico has made great strides in improving building codes since the 1985 earthquake. The M=6.6 earthquake ruptured at 67 km (40 mi) deep along the plate boundary formed offshore of Central America on 1 February 2019. Vertically, the portion of the fault that slipped starts at the top of the oceanic plate—about 15km below the Earth’s surface—and continues all the way down to a depth of about 80km, which is roughly the bottom of the plate. The first tremor, a magnitude 8.1 earthquake, had a fairly typical epicentre location – just offshore of the coastline. - Mexico City honors earthquake victims in Day of the Dead parade ... "It is not one single sharp plate boundary, but there are numerous fracture zones," Dahm explains. EERI Earthquake Reconnaissance Team Report: M7.1 Puebla, Mexico Earthquake on September 19, 2017 Page 4 Figure 2. The reasonably shallow depth suggested that this particular part of the Pacific Ring of Fire does not behave as we expect. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Condé Nast. On 6 September, several earthquake alarms in Mexico City were mistakenly activated and this led to the evacuation of buildings. Rescuers work in the rubble after a magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck on September 19, 2017 in Mexico City, Mexico ... of Mexico, and the North American tectonic plate. parts of Mexico City, resulting in 369 casualties. Mexico is located on one of Earth's subduction zones, where the ocean floor of the Cocos tectonic plate is forcing its way down ("subducting") beneath the continental edge of the North American plate. The movement started at a spot about 46km down and spread outward along the plane of the fault from there. Explaining this little puzzle has practical implications. Mexico city, the country’s capital, is especially prone to earthquakes because it is situated on top of an ancient lake bed. The researchers say a couple additional factors must be at play. Its epicenter was about 55 km (34 mi) south of the city of Puebla. Mexico has had an implementation of an earthquake early warning system for years, developed after the 1985 earthquake that devastated Mexico City. This warping of the Cocos plate caused a large earthquake to occur close to Mexico city at a relatively shallow depth. The 8.2 magnitude earthquake that brought devastation and 98 deaths to southern Mexico in September 2017 was even more extreme than initially thought — it split the tectonic plate … The earthquake caused damage in the Mexican states of Puebla and Morelos and in the Greater Mexico City area, including the collapse of more than 40 buildings. Mexico City was given 10-15 seconds of warning during the magnitude 7.1 earthquake. Ars may earn compensation on sales from links on this site. - Oct 4, 2018 2:50 pm UTC. Understanding Mexico’s hazards requires understanding what these oddball earthquakes are capable of. Mexico City is especially prone to severe damage because of the ground it sits on — an ancient lakebed that quivers like jello, Bellini says. The Baja California peninsula lies near the boundary of the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate, while southern Mexico lies just north of the boundary between the North American Plate and the Cocos and Rivera tectonic plates. Mexico, too, lies on the Ring of Fire and is no stranger to such quakes: the 1985 8.0 magnitude earthquake that devastated Mexico City was a fairly typical “thrust” earthquake that ruptured the shallow portion of the tectonic plate boundary. The magnitude-8.0 quake occurred at 7:18 am.Many sources place the location of the epicentre in the state of Michoacán—approximately 200 miles (320 km) from Mexico City—in a region of tectonic tension between the North American Plate and the subducting Cocos Plate. Its depth was puzzling: only 50km down, but the faulting mechanism implied rupture inside a plate. © 2021 Condé Nast. Building code design response spectra in Mexico City for 1976, 1987, and 2004 in the: (a) Firm Soil zones from the 2004 Mexico City building code. Read our affiliate link policy. Based on previous scientific studies, the slab begins to behave as normal at shallow depths, but then it suddenly flattens for a distance of around 200 km, before again plunging into the deep Earth. In this region, the oceanic Cocos plate dives beneath the North America and Caribbean plates to form the Middle America Trench, a subduction zone with a rich history of very large M>8 earthquakes (Ye et al., 2013). These systems analyse recordings of the weak and faster-travelling seismic wave arrivals (P-waves) to try to estimate when the slower travelling, but more damaging waves (S-waves) will arrive and how strong they will be. How Mexico City's 2017 "Bending" Earthquake Could Happen Again. The earthquake’s epicentre was unusually located, in central Mexico. First, seawater percolating down into the cracks that formed as the oceanic plate first bent to head beneath the continent could have cooled the rock and reacted with minerals, making the rock more brittle than it would be otherwise. Mexico, was one of the first countries, along with Japan, to develop an earthquake early-warning system. The system is widely reported to have detected the impending shaking near the epicenter and provided invaluable seconds to take appropriate actions in areas further afield. Although these types of earthquake are rare, the amount of damage caused by them is not globally unprecedented. Our detailed earthquake records from instruments only go back a hundred years or so, and these deep quakes do not leave any noticeable imprint in the geological record from surface ruptures or large tsunamis. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the epicenter of the earthquake took place in Raboso, Mexico—about 75 miles south of the capital city. 370 people were killed by the earthquake and related building collapses, including 228 in Mexico City, and more than 6,00… Since the plates there seem to break rules followed by plate boundaries elsewhere around the world, the local rules need to be better understood. We have seen such quakes striking Indonesia, Chile and Japan over the past 15 years. It occurred only 11 days after the M w 8.2 September 8, 2017 Mexico Earthquake, located further southeast, offshore Chiapas, Mexico. The results show that a 150km-long section of the fault slipped three meters or so. Your California Privacy Rights | Do Not Sell My Personal Information A new study led by the University of Oregon’s Diego Malgar found something even weirder, though. The tectonic plate boundary known as a subduction zone, where an oceanic plate dives down beneath another plate. Tectonic setting. Let’s not pull on your wrist hard enough to stretch your elbow joint, but doing so would counteract the squeezing on the inside of your elbow as it bends. Yet its depth, pinpointed to 70km down, raised eyebrows. Protecting people during earthquakes is all about minimizing surprises, so while they are always interesting, we want to limit the earthquakes that make you go "Huh.". A magnitude 8 earthquake that struck the city of Chillán in 1939 contributed to the deaths of nearly 30,000 people. Mexico City's downtown area is notoriously vulnerable to earthquakes … Mexico’s most recent earthquakes did not directly involve two tectonic plates clashing, as is commonly the case. The world’s largest recorded earthquake, which struck Chile in 1960, was not the country’s most damaging earthquake. While the two earthquakes were not connected, they were the same type of earthquake, which is unusual in the region. © 2021 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies. Mexico is adjacent to a plate tectonic boundary. Seismologist Dr Stephen Hicks explains, Dr Hicks is a postdoctoral research fellow in seismology at the University of Southampton. It occurred at the Cocos Plate rather than at the boundary with the North American plate. In this case the rupture took place inside a plate itself, not at the locked zone between plates. All rights reserved. Tuesday’s earthquake took place on the anniversary of a devastating earthquake that killed thousands in Mexico City in 1985. A powerful earthquake struck off the coast of Mexico early this morning and was felt as far away as Mexico City, reports said, the New York Times reports. The incident prompted a review of the system. EMSC is reporting M7.1 at a depth of 30 km (18.6 miles).. Seismologists can model the process backward from the measured surface movement and figure out how the fault moved underground. 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