Two earthquakes struck off the coast of Jalisco yesterday morning and were felt in three Pacific coast states, but there were no reports of major damage or loss of life.
A 4.5-magnitude quake hit at 7:56am followed by a larger 5.9-magnitude temblor nine minutes later at 8:05am.
The National Seismological Service (SSN) reported that the epicenter of both quakes was 65 kilometers southwest of Cihuátlan, Jalisco.
Residents of municipalities in Jalisco, Colima and Michoacán all reported feeling the seismic activity.
A hotel employee in Barra de Navidad, Jalisco, told the news agency Reuters that the shaking was strongly felt in the coastal town.
“The second one was stronger . . . with a lot of moving of buildings and parked trucks,” Juan Michel said.
In Guadalajara, more than 14,000 people were evacuated from schools and workplaces when the first temblor struck, Civil Protection authorities said.
Unlike Mexico City, the Jalisco capital does not have a seismic alert system, meaning that residents do not receive any warning of the imminent arrival of an earthquake.
The head of Civil Protection in Zapopan explained that Guadalajara’s close proximity to possible epicenters would render an alert system ineffective because it would sound at the same time as an earthquake is occurring.
Seismic activity occurs frequently in the region off the coasts of Jalisco and Colima because the Cocos and North American tectonic plates converge there and grind against each other in a process known as subduction.
Large earthquakes have previously struck in the region in 2003, 1995 and 1932, causing significant damage and loss of life in cities including Manzanillo and Colima.
The twin quakes off the Jalisco coast were not the only ones registered in Mexico yesterday.
The SSN reported that there were eight earthquakes with a magnitude greater than 4.0 that struck in the states of Oaxaca, Chiapas and Jalisco as well as 17 more tremors that registered between 3.3 and 3.9.
Frequent seismic activity has continued this morning, including in the region where yesterday’s quakes occurred.
There was also a 5.1-magnitude quake at 5:04am today with an epicenter 17 kilometers southwest of Huixtla, Chiapas. Federal Civil Protection authorities said that no damage has been reported.