Tuesday, June 25, 2024

6.4-magnitude earthquake strikes near Mexico-Guatemala border

A strong earthquake shook the Mexico-Guatemala border early Sunday morning, sending some frightened residents into the street but otherwise causing no deaths or reported injuries.

The quake struck at 5:39 a.m. with an epicenter 16 kilometers off the Pacific coast, approximately 76 kilometers southeast of Ciudad Hidalgo, Chiapas.

Videos posted to social media showed the impact of the quake early on Sunday morning.


The U.S. Geological Survey reported its magnitude at 6.4 and depth at 75 kilometers, while Mexico’s National Seismological Service (SSN) said it measured 6.2 on the Richter scale with a depth of 10 kilometers.

As of 8 a.m. Monday, SSN reported there had been 80 aftershocks, with the strongest at 4.6.

Mexico’s Foreign Affairs Ministry (SRE) quickly opened emergency telephone lines for people who might have been affected.

Foreign Affairs Minister Alicia Bárcena wrote in a post on the social media site X, “We stand in solidarity with the people of Guatemala who this morning suffered a strong earthquake in the border area with Mexico. No victims have been reported.”

The earthquake’s epicenter wasn’t far from where the Suchiate River — part of which defines the Mexico-Guatemala border — empties into the sea.

The earthquake's epicenter was slightly west of where the Suchiate River marks part of the border between Guatemala and Mexico.
The earthquake’s epicenter was slightly west of where the Suchiate River marks part of the border between Guatemala and Mexico. (Servicio Sismológico Nacional)

Though there were no initial reports of damage, more mountainous, remote parts of the border are prone to landslides.

Guatemala’s national disaster prevention agency shared photos of small landslides onto highways in the Quetzaltenango region and large cracks in walls in a hospital in San Marcos on social media, but there were no reports of deaths.

One video showed boulders that had tumbled onto a road, but it wasn’t clear if it was in Mexico or Guatemala.

Didier Solares, an official with Suchiate’s civil defense agency, said on Sunday that no immediate damage had been found.

“Luckily, everything is good,” he told the news magazine Proceso. “We are talking with companies, with the [rural areas] via radio and there’s nothing, there’s no damage, thank God.”

Shaking was reportedly felt in the colonial city of San Cristobal de las Casas, which is in the mountains about 250 kilometers from the epicenter.

In Tuxtla Chico, a town in Chiapas’ south much closer to the epicenter, “It was horrible,” according to teacher María Guzmán as quoted by the Mexican news magazine Proceso. “It felt strong. It was a real scare.”

Mexico experiences high seismicity due to its location over five tectonic plates, and Chiapas is one of the states that rattles the most.

This is due to the convergent contact of the Cocos, North American and Caribbean plates, according to a special report issued Sunday by SSN’s Institute of Geophysics based at the National Autonomous University (UNAM) in Mexico City.

Sunday’s earthquake was the 19th of magnitude 6.0 or greater in Chiapas since 2000, including a 6.5-magnitude earthquake in 2019. Since 1900, there have been seven earthquakes in Chiapas ranging from 7.2 to 8.2 on the Richter scale, according to SSN, the most recent being an 8.2 in 2017 that caused severe damage in southeast Mexico.

With reports from Proceso, Infobae and AP

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