Very strong earthquake near Iguala, Mexico – 2 people killed, 4 injured and 50 houses damaged in Guerrero

Last update: December 16, 2011 at 11:27 pm by By

Earthquake overview :  A very strong earthquake occurred near Iguala Mexico at 07:47 PM local time. Luckily the hypocenter was at a depth of 64.7 km.
“I Felt it” Reports –> see below + Let us know “how you felt this earthquake”
To read the full story as it happened, we advise our readers to start at the lower part of the page (earthquake data).
This article has been written with the collaboration of Carlos Robles, Mexico

Keep this page open or return regularly as we will be back with more details when they become available.

image copyright and courtesy telediario.mx

Update 11/12 – 17:23 UTC
- The Civil Defense undersecretary from the Guerrero province has declared that the official death toll is 2 (updated from 3), 4 people have been injured  and 50 houses have been damaged.

Update 11/12 – 13:23 UTC
- As could be expected after such a powerful earthquake, a number of aftershocks have been reported so far.
- The picture at right shows the damaged van of the unlucky driver who lost his life during this earthquake. We do not know the exact circumstances but it appears that he was hit by one of the heavy rocks on the ground. 2 women inside the van were more lucky as the far heavier rocks were blocked by the roof of the van. The women were injured.

Update 11/12 – 12:06 UTC
The death toll remains at 3 and will probably and hopefully not increase anymore.
All the fatalities reported have been in the state of Guerrero.
The Mexico City DF (Federal District) reported a SALDO BLANCO, which means that there were NO injuries and/or fatalities.
- At least 13.2 million people must have felt the earthquake
- The deep hypocenter or focal depth is the main reason why this very strong earthquake did not claim more victims.
- Based on what we know right now, we can call it a lucky escape.
- The video below shows the shaking while a TV soap was being recorded. We think that this video was recorded in Mexico City, at least 150 km from the epicenter. The video clearly shows the duration of the shaking (official reports are mentioning 47 seconds, but this might have been the case closer to the epicenter).

Update 09:06 UTC :
A third death has occurred in the northern region of Guerrero, where a rock fell onto a driver.
Thus we have had 1 death via structural failure, and 2 via rockfalls.
In Chilpancingo, several houses and businesses were damaged, and the Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary has a serious crack in one of the towers.
Civil Protection has continued to monitor damage, mainly in Zumpango del Rio, where the epicenter occurred. Helicopters are flying over for more reports, while people are gradually returning inside their buildings in a city that is ready to receive thousands of pilgrims for the annual celebration of the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Update 08:34 UTC :
The death toll from this earthquake remains at 2. An 11 year old boy was killed when the roof of his house fell on him, and a rock fall caused the death of a motorist. As yet these are the only reports of deaths. Injuries have occurred in many locations from falling structures, objects and landslides.

I Have Felt It map - courtesy USGS

Update 08:34 UTC :
The epicenter region has been hit by many earthquakes in the past 110 years according to CATDAT – here are just some of the damaging earthquakes within 100km of the epicenter. Chilpancingo has experienced damage on average every 30 years.
Date Magnitude Lat/Long No. of fatalities
1899 7.5Ml 17.1,-100.5 Chilpancingo damage
16/01/1902 7.3Ml 17.6,-99.5 300
6/10/1937 6.5Ml 17.3,-99.3 0
10/01/1944 7Ml 18.1,-100.6 0
11/05/1962 7.3Mw 17.18,-99.642 4
19/05/1962 6.7Ms 17.009,-99.763 30
30/11/1962 5.1Ml 17.6,-99.7 1
6/07/1964 7.2mB 18.193,-100.509 78
2/07/1968 5.7mB 17.519,-100.259 1
7/06/1976 6.4Mw 17.378,-100.691 0
13/04/2007 6Ml 17.302,-100.198 0

Update 08:11 UTC :
The shaking that occurs in the soft soil (clay basin) of Mexico City is often amplified many times from similar earthquakes, and this could be the reason why we have seen damaged buildings in Mexico City despite the expected low ground accelerations due to the distance from the epicenter. Mexico City was originally built on a lake, which accounts for the soft alluvial soils that magnify ground motion.

Update 08:06 UTC : The death toll remains at 2.
The seismological information shows a major difference between where the Mexican Seismological Service thinks the epicenter is, and where the USGS thinks the hypocenter is. Over 30km!
6.5 magnitude from UNAM (SSN), with 58km depth. 17.84N, 99.98W.
6.5 magnitude from USGS, with 64km depth. 18.04N, 99.80W.

This will therefore make a huge difference as to where the destruction in villages may have occurred. Of course we will need to wait for more information.

Now some accelerations from various stations -
Station Acceleration, g
Acapulco 0.0168
Cuernavaca 0.005
Zaragoza, D.F. 0.0103
Tlacotal, D.F. 0.0105
Chapultepec, D.F. 0.0147
Coyoacán, D.F. 0.0105
Unidad Kennedy, D.F. 0.0063
CENAPRED, D.F. 0.0134

Generally these accelerations do not lead to major damage.
At the epicentre however, the accelerations would have been much higher, which is why we are seeing collapsed roofs, walls and other damage to structures.

Update 05:46 UTC : We will have to wait another 8 to 10 hours to find out whether the current fatality number will remain at 2. The remote villages will be visited by the emergency services early tomorrow morning (local time) as they have not yet been counted in the current statistics.

Update 05:13 UTC : The seismological service said that the shaking lasted 47 seconds.

Update 05:13 UTC : There are NO reports of damage in Pueblo.

Update 04:56 UTC : The epicenter has been located in  Zumpango del Río according to the Mexican seismological agency. Zumpagno del Rio is only 15 km from Chilpancingo, the city where the readers are reporting from. Zumpagno del Rio has a population of 4,543 people. Chilpancingo has a population of 166,796 people!

A reader reports from Chilpancingo, Guerrero (severe shaking indicates) : Chilpanccingo, Guerrero reports 3 deaths.
My husband and I took our 6 year old to play at a local Burger King. At first the quake started slowly but kept growing in strength. We ran to the plastic play complex and saw that our daughter was alone at the very top level. We started screaming frantically at her to get down and out. At this point one of the big glass lamps crashed inches away from my husband’s foot. The lights went out and we were ecstatic to find our daughter collectedly coming down after having read  the instructions for the emergency exits posted inside the play area!
We felt as if we were living through a Japanese horror movie. Not surprised at all that deaths are being reported. Very pleased to see police and ambulances mobilized right away!
ER : Chilpancingo is about 62 km from the epicenter?

Update 04:41 UTC : Mexican authorities have told the press that severe aftershocks  are almost excluded.

Update 04:29 UTC : 3 houses have collapsed in Guerrero. It is now 10:29 in Mexico and Civil Defense emergency teams have to work in the dark.

Update 04:02 UTC : Unfortunately a second person has been killed.  Summary of both fatalities :
- The earthquake caused the death of a man when his roof collapsed in the small city of Iguala, said the Civil Protection of Guerrero.
- In the highway that connects the state of Guerrero with the capital there were landslides and a rock fall took place over a car killing the occupant.

Update 03:50 UTC : A lot of tourists residing along the Acapulco coast will have felt this earthquake

Important Update 03:43 UTC : Mexican TV has just reported that unfortunately at least 1 person has been killed in Guerrero.

Update : Aftershocks can be expected (some M 5 or plus)

Update : Carlos reports that :
- 3 walls collapsed in Mexico city.
- There were 3 water leaks in Mexico city.
- A building fell onto another in Mexico city. (This is the very damaged building from the update below.)
There isn’t any information from the cities near the epicenter at the moment, only from the capital.

Update : There are 2 damaged buildings in Mexico city (One is very damaged).
There are some water and gas leaks reports.
There was a wall collapse.

Update : USGS has revised the magnitude from 6.7 to 6.5.  The Mexican seismological service reports 6.8

Update : This is a subduction earthquake where an oceanic plate glides below the North American plate.  The depth of 64 km is perfectly normal for this kind of earthquake.

Update 02:59 UTC (1 hour 12 minutes after the earthquake) :
Carlos reports that :
- No damage is reported in Mexico City
- The earthquake has been updated to M 6.8
- Power has been restored in some areas (we had not written yet that power was lost in some areas)
- NO more injured people have been reported (after 1 hour 13 minutes)

Update : Some Cell phone services are no longer working.

Update : Carlos reports that the website of the Mexican Seismological Service is down.

Update : People from Mexico City are reporting in big numbers that they are OK but also that they have felt a serious shaking. Mexico City is located at 166 km from the epicenter.

Update : Our QuakeSOS iPhone application has only received I AM SAFE messages from registered users.

Update : The theoretical models are contradicting each other, but please keep in mind that it normally takes several hours until a good estimate of the damage and injuries can be made.

Update : WAPMERR, the theoretical damage engine, has calculated that fatalities are possible and that several thousand people might have been injured.

Update : People are on the streets out of fear of aftershocks. TV reports that they are calm.

Update : Mexican Civil protection is reporting power failures in some areas.

Update :  1 person has been reported injured, by a roof collapse, in Tuxpan, Guerrero.

Update :  According to the “I Felt It” reports close to the epicenter a max. VI MMI has been reported = strong shaking. Normally VI MMI will give at max. slight damage.

Update :  All the data below are indicating that this earthquake will have frightened a lot of people but few will have sustained damage or injuries.

Update :  EMSC Europe reports a magnitude of 6.7 at a depth of 61 km – The Mexican seismological agency reports a magnitude of 6.8 at a depth of 61 km.

Update : Based on the theoretical damage model from USGS only 424,000 people will have experienced a VI MMI shaking. This is exceptionally good for such a strong earthquake. It also means that there will probably be limited damage

Update : Although the numbers look frightening, the intermediate depth of 64.9 km will greatly weaken the impact.

Update : The earthquake has been felt over hundreds of kilometers.


Earthquake-Report.com GOOGLE+ / Earthquake-Report.com FACEBOOK
“I Felt It” reports as received by Earthquake-Report.com
Estado : very strong shaking what and where was it
Mexico City : Strong shaking indicated
Puebla : Strong shaking indicated
Chilpanccingo : My husband and I took our 6 year old to play at a local Burger King. At first the quake started slowly but kept growing in strength. We ran to the plastic play complex and saw that our daughter was alone at the very top level. We started screaming frantically at her to get down and out. At this point one of the big glass lamps crashed inches away from my husbands foot. The lights went out and we were ecstatic to find our daughter collectedly coming down after having read the instructions for the emergency exits posted inside the play area! We felt as if we were living through a Japanese horror movie. Not surprised at all that deaths are being reported. Very pleased to see police and ambulances mobilized right away!


Most important Earthquake Data:
Magnitude : 6.7  6.5
UTC Time :  Sunday, December 11, 2011 at 01:47:26 UTC
Local time at epicenter : Saturday, December 10, 2011 at 07:47:26 PM at epicenter
Depth (Hypocenter) : 64.9 km
Geo-location(s) :
42 km (26 miles) SW of Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico
56 km (34 miles) ESE of Arcelia, Guerrero, Mexico
62 km (38 miles) NNW of Chilpancingo, Guerrero, Mexico

Links to important maps
USGS Did You Feel It Map
Google satellite map showing the epicenter and the surrounding area.
Historic earthquakes map
Seismic hazard map
Shaking map
Focal mechanism report
Human impact map
GDACS earthquake report
GDACS tsunami report

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I did feel it – Ik heb het gevoeld – Το έκανα αισθάνεται Yo lo he sentido – 我的确感到了 – 私はそれを感じていました- Ich habe es gefühlt – Bunu hissediyorum yaptı – لم أشعر أنه

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