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Mexico struck by huge earthquake, with tsunamis and at least six deaths reported

  • An earthquake of a magnitude 8.2 struck off the coast of Chiapas, Mexico, late on Thursday local time and tsunamis were observed, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) said.
  • Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto said in a press conference that the quake was the biggest to strike the country in a hundred years, larger even than a huge temblor that struck in 1985, killing thousands.
  • Guatemala’s President Jimmy Morales said on national television that at least one person may have died in his country, AP reported.
  • Waves of as high as a meter, or 3.3 feet, had been observed in Mexico, PTWC said.
  • Tsunami waves of more than 3 meters, or nearly 10 feet, above the tide level are possible along some coasts of Mexico, the PTWC said.

Mexico was struck by a huge earthquake late Thursday local time, with tsunamis and at least six deaths reported.

@CNBC: Mexico struck by earthquake of magnitude 8.0, tsunami possible: USGS

An earthquake of a magnitude 8.2 struck off the coast of Chiapas, Mexico, late on Thursday local time and tsunamis were observed, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) said.

Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto said in a press conference that the quake was the biggest to strike the country in a hundred years, larger even than a huge temblor that struck in 1985, killing thousands.

Chiapas Governor Manuel Velasco Coello said four people had been reported to have died, adding that there had been 12 aftershocks. He advised people to evacuate their homes due to the tsunami warning.

AP News reported that two children died in Tabasco state, one when a wall collapsed, while the other was a baby on a ventilator at a hospital which lost power.

Guatemala’s President Jimmy Morales said on national television that at least one person may have died in his country, AP reported.

A spokesperson for Guatemala’s office for emergency management said no deaths were reported, but the quake was felt in Guatemala City, with damage reported to houses and two roads impassable due to landslides.

Waves of as high as a meter, or 3.3 feet, had been observed in Mexico, PTWC said.

Tsunami waves of more than 3 meters, or nearly 10 feet, above the tide level are possible along some coasts of Mexico, the PTWC said.

The quake’s magnitude was upgraded from a preliminary reading of 8.0; some Mexican sources put the magnitude at 8.4.

The quake’s depth was at 33 kilometers, or 20 miles, the PTWC said.

The USGS has reported at least five aftershocks so far, with magnitudes ranging from 4.9 to 5.7.

“It’s a big quake. It’s about 70 miles offshore, but it’s not an unheard of quake,” Randy Baldwin, a geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey National Earthquake Information Center, told NBC News in a phone interview, noting that the mid-American trench has producing a lot of big quakes in the past.

“Any time that you have a large quake like this, that is shallow, you can expect aftershocks to occur for even the next several months,” he later told CNBC.

Reuters reported that people in the capital Mexico City ran into the streets after the quake, adding later that parts of the city were without power. Mexico City is more than 500 miles from the quake’s epicenter.

The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) said that the quake was also felt in Belize and Guatemala. It estimated that the population in the “felt area” was around 90 million people.

Classes were suspended in schools in Mexico City, Chiapas, Oaxaca, Puebla, Tiaxcala, Guerrero and Edomex to review the infrastructure, Mexico’s Secretary of Public Education Aurelio Nuno said via Twitter.

In a preliminary report, the National Institute of Anthropology and History said there didn’t appear to be any damage to archaeological areas.

Mexico’s Secretary of Communications and Transportation Gerardo Ruiz Esparza said that national airports were in operating condition.

Pena Nieto said that operations at the Salina Cruz refinery were suspended temporarily as a precaution, Reuters reported.

Mexico struck by huge earthquake, with tsunamis and at least six deaths reported