Wednesday, June 19, 2024

2 more minor earthquakes felt in Mexico City

Mexico City experienced two micro-earthquakes in the early hours of Thursday after a month of higher-than-usual seismic activity in the capital. 

According to the National Seismological Service (SSN), the first quake occurred at 3:33 a.m. in northeastern Magdalena Contreras, with a magnitude of 2.0. The second was felt at 3:49 a.m. in southern Álvaro Obregón, with a magnitude of 1.7. A brief 1.7-quake was also recorded at around the same hour on Tuesday, Dec. 26. The movements were perceptible but slight, and no damage has been reported.

Last night’s micro-quakes (marked with a green dot) originated in the same area of Mexico City where most of this year’s micro-quakes have occurred. (ssn.unam.mx)

Mexico City has experienced an unusual number of micro-earthquakes during this month. On Dec. 12, four micro-quakes were recorded in the west of the city, the strongest of which caused minor damage to buildings. Two days later, two micro-quakes of 3.2 and 2.4 magnitude hit Álvaro Obregón. The former was the strongest felt in Mexico City this year.

These minor seismic events are very common and not typically a cause for concern. The SSN has registered 81 micro-quakes in the capital this year, including a succession of small quakes in May and a 3-magnitude quake in San Antonio Tecómitl, one of the borough of Milpa Alta’s 12 towns, in July.

The increased seismic activity in Mexico City in December has sparked rumors that the quakes could be caused by human activity, such as water extraction. However, experts consider this unlikely, as these human activities are limited to a few hundred meters’ depth, whereas micro-quakes originate at a depth of 3 to 5 kilometers and large quakes start even deeper underground.

Rather, seismologist Víctor Manuel Cruz of the Institute of Geophysics of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) told the newspaper El Universal, the recent seismic activity is likely due to small ruptures in the tectonic plates below Mexico City caused by larger past events, such as the 2017 Puebla earthquake.

Although these small quakes are not considered cause for concern, residents should remember that, in the event of a larger earthquake, it is important to stay calm, keep away from windows or objects that may fall and follow recommendations from local authorities. 

With reports from El Universal and Sin Embargo

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