With the collaboration of Carlos Robles
Earthquake overview : On 3/20/2012 at about 11:30h local time, an earthquake of magnitude 7.4 occurred in the highly populated region of Guerrero in Mexico. The earthquake happened 149km from Oaxaca.
“I have Felt it” Reports –> see below + Let us know “how you have 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).
Check also our Mexico-only earthquake list
Read Also : “Understanding” the massive March 20 Mexico earthquake
Keep this page open or return regularly as we will be back with more details when they become available
Update 13/04 – 13:32 UTC
2 serious aftershocks in Guerrero / Oaxaca, Mexico
As predicted several weeks ago, the M7.6 earthquake in Guerrero Mexico would surely lead to a lot of aftershocks including some stronger ones which will be close or greater than M6.0. What happened today (M5.4 at 10:10 UTC and M5.3 at 13:06 UTC) could be expected and will normally not cause any additional damage. Let us hope that the aftershocks will gradually winding down in strength and number.
Update 23/03 – 16:13UTC:
- The mayor of Cuajinicuilapa in Guerrero state, said one of the victims died from injuries caused by a wall falling on him and the other died of complications for a heart attack suffered during the quake (so he died during the earthquake and not later, they never said there was a victim until today).
- Because of the above, this earthquake receives a CATDAT RED labeling and is the 4th deadly earthquake since the beginning of the year (after the Dominican Republic, the Philippines and Japan)
- A M 5.0 aftershock shook the Guerrero / Oaxaca area again yesterday. No further damage was reported (not in Distrito Federal or in the epicenter provinces. Aftershocks will be part of almost daily life in these provinces.
- Yesterday’s M 5.0 aftershock was the 96th aftershock after the massive quake on Tuesday.
- Segob has reported that alone in Oaxaca, 6,344 buildings have been damaged.
Update 23/03 – 12:00 UTC:
Carlos Robles (ER contributor) reports :
A lot of rumors are spreading in Mexico and causing panic among the people.
Some of them are:
- a volcano is forming in Guerrero.
- a mega-quake is going to happen soon
- It was pre-planned.
Today people were saying that a big earthquake was going to happen at 4:58pm… the rumors about the volcano were because the water was at point of boiling and thats normal after a big earthquake (ER : it looks like boiling water but probably some liquefaction was seen in some areas).
Buildings were evacuated today because there were people saying these things !
Its kind of frustrating because THESE ARE ALL LIES…nobody can predict an earthquake or even make one and about the volcano.. just common we have a lot of instruments worldwide…just see El Hierro they knew a volcano was forming months BEFORE the eruption.
Well these kind of things happen worldwide but i am angry because I have family and friends there that actually believes these rumors. The only thing we should do is to be prepared with medic kits, food, water,etc and not to be scared.
Update 22/03 21:00UTC:
- The Mexican seismological agency has said that more than 80 aftershocks have been recorded since the mainshock on Tuesday
Summary Update 22/03 09:00UTC:
- In Guerrero, 30000 houses have been reported to have been damaged (it is expected many with cracks in the adobe or fallen cardboard) to some extent. Given that Guerrero is an extremely poor part of Mexico with the second lowest HDI in Mexico, the economic loss will not be significant. However, the impact to locals will be quite high. 800 houses are reported to have collapsed in Guerrero or be so severely damaged that they are uninhabitable. This is the report of the local governor. 2 people were injured in Cuajinicuilapa and Ometepec. Shelter has been provided.
20 schools and hospitals were damaged in four municipalities, including the Ometepec, where the epicenter of the quake was, and one remains without electricity at Tlacoachistlahuaca.
-In Oaxaca, 2000 homes and public buildings have been damaged to varying extents.
-In Mexico City, 250,000 people were without water service due to a pipe burst by the quake, said City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard.
Summary Update 15:25 UTC :
- Yesterday’s earthquake has been labeled by the Mexican authorities as the strongest since the devastating 1985 earthquake (see below this images of this update).
- Gradually images from the damage are published in many media (see below this update).
- 300,000 people in Mexico City have no drinking water
- Authorities are calling the population to remain calm (ER : after every earthquake some “…” people are talking about a new even more powerful earthquake. Such a rumor goes on quickly and people often start to panic, hamster, etc.)
- Line A of the Mexico City underground is still not working. 30 workers are currently trying to repair the damage after the earthquake
- In Mexico’s Chiapas province, an earthquake simulation coincided with the real earthquake !
The 1985 Mexico City earthquake, a magnitude 8.0 earthquake that struck Mexico City on the early morning of 19 September 1985 at around 7:19 am (CST), caused the deaths of at least 10,000 people and serious damage to the greater Mexico City Area. The complete seismic event consisted of four quakes. A pre-event quake of magnitude 5.2 occurred on 28 May 1985. The main and most powerful shock occurred 19 September, followed by two aftershocks: one on 20 September 1985 of magnitude 7.5 and the fourth occurring seven months later on 30 April 1986 of magnitude 7.0. The quakes were located off the Mexican Pacific coast, more than 350 km away, but due to strength of the quake and the fact that Mexico City sits on an old lake-bed, Mexico City suffered major damage. The event caused between three and four billion USD in damage as 412 buildings collapsed and another 3,124 were seriously damaged in the city. While the number is in dispute, the most-often cited number of deaths is an estimated 10,000 people but experts agreed that it could be up to 40,000 (source : Wikipedia)
Video captured by an evacuee moments after the shaking started. The epicenter of this earthquake was more than 300 km from the location where this video was recorded.
Summary Update 06:30 UTC :
- The latest reports of damage seem to be less than previously indicated. In the town of Omotepec, a town of 3000 inhabitants, around 200 houses have fallen tiles and some collapsed walls. They are mainly built of asbestos cement, adobe and other materials. The inhabitants are currently spending the night outside for fear of aftershocks. Ceilings of laminated cardboard and asbestos also were reported to be fallen in various houses across the town.
- None died, and very few people were injured. According to the municipal authority of Omotepec, the damage was minor and the most affected community was Huajintepec. Fallen walls and debris were reported from this community but again no deaths or major injuries.
- The quake also caused the trees, rocks and soil to be strewn across the State Road linking with Cuajinicuilapa Ometepec and on roads that connect with neighboring communities Ometepec. There are many damaged houses along these roads.
- In Zacoalpan, Villas de Hidalgo, Mazapa, Huixtepec and Cochoapa also reported only a few houses with damage.
- 0 deaths have occurred, and the injured count remains at 11.
- The earthquake will remain at CATDAT Orange.
Summary Update 04:30 UTC :
- 0 (zero) fatalities/deaths have occurred as a result of this earthquake
- 11 (eleven) injuries have occurred.
- 800 houses are destroyed or damaged in Guerrero, with a few buildings damaged in other parts of Mexico.
- Many evacuations have occurred as a precaution.
Summary Update 00:17 UTC :
- 70,000 households are still without power in Guerrero province.
- 2 hospitals are evacuated in Guerrero
- The central government has dispatched more Civil Protection people to help the local authorities in Guerrero with the assessment of the damage
- Update: Damage has been reported in more than 25 locations ion Oaxaca province
- Update: The head of the Civil Protection, Laura Guza, has declared that NOBODY has been reported killed so far. 2 people were injured in the capital, Mexico City. 5 people were injured in the Oaxaca province.
- Update: Strong aftershocks are continuing to hit the greater epicenter area.
- Update: The number of houses damaged in the epicenter region continues to grow. Up to 800 houses are reported uninhabitable in the epicentral region.
- Update: 2 buildings in the historic center of Mexico city have also been reported damaged.
- Update: No casualties have been reported from Omotepec which is good news given the damage.
- Update: We have reports from Mexican radio (from Carlos) that 500 houses have been severely damaged or destroyed in Guerrero. As expected Omotepec has had a lot of this damage. This was mentioned by the governor of Guerrero.
- Update: Currently only 60 houses are still being reported destroyed in the epicentral region with an extra 400 damaged.
- Update: From Carlos Robles – our US/Mexico Earthquake correspondent:- A wall collapsed leaving one with serious injuries in Mexico City. Damage has been reported in Ciudad de Mexico like cracked roads, damaged buildings, and the bridge that collapsed in a bus with no casaulties. Damage has been reported in Oaxaca with cracked roads and damaged buildings.
In Puebla the Palacio Municipal (Municipal palace, is a government building.) there were 2 cracked walls. Fissures in churches all over Mexico have been reported. Mobile phones were suspended due to overuse. The subway was suspended. The daughter of president Obama was in Oaxaca when the earthquake hit, she only felt the earthquake and has no injuries.
- Update: A highway in Oaxaca has had a landslide cover a small section. It only caused slight damage in the form of a small car crash. Apart from that, other roads are all clear according to authorities.
- Update: Earlier reports of a footbridge collapsing onto a bus in Mexico City were incorrect. In fact, it was the 10 meters of concrete guard rail of the footbridge which collapsed. No people were killed.
- Update : 1 person has been injured in Colonia Juarez – of a nervous breakdown. In addition a staircase collapsed in a police building and there are reports of minor injuries. Other than that only minor damage has been reported. Some bridges have been closed around Mexico as a precaution.
- Update : At least 60 houses have been destroyed in Guerrero. Most of these are expected to be old adobe houses. Omotopec is expected to have major damage. Damage will likely be in the tens of millions of US dollars.
2.5 million users have had outages in their electricity following the earthquake. After 90 minutes, 1.5 million users were restored to the grid. In the Eastern control area partial outages in the cities of Poza Rica and Coatzacoalcos and parts of the states of Puebla, Tlaxcala and Morelos. CFE crews will continue working to restore power as quickly as possible in the affected areas.
- Update : We notice, as expected, a lot of aftershocks, the strongest ones ranging from M 4.7 to M 5.3.
- Update : – President Calderon has just confirmed that so far NO lives have been lost.
- Power plants are working normally
- The President has also declared that NO major damage was inflicted
- The Mexican Seismological service is maintaining a Magnitud of 7.8
- Update : YouTube video of the shaking. The shaking we see on the video was more than 300 km from the epicenter! Swaying is more accentuated in high rise buildings.
- Update : At 13:52 local time (1 hour 50 minutes after the earthquake), NO fatalities have been reported so far, a very good sign !
- Update : New Intensity calculations (based on the M 7.4 Magnitude) are giving the following impact :
182,000 people MMI VII (very strong shaking)
596,000 people MMI VI (strong shaking)
2,736,000 people MMI V (moderate shaking)
32 million people MMI IV (light shaking)
- Update : USGS has further decreased the Magnitude from 7.6 to 7.4, a lot weaker than the initially reported 7.9. The depth has been recalculated to 20 km. All this explains the lesser than originally expected intensity.
- Update : GOOD preliminary news : Only light damage is currently reported out of the epicenter area. Based on our own experience, we think it is far too soon to have a final estimate, but after such an earthquake, we like to hear that the damage is not general.
- Update : A concrete walkway bridge has collapsed on a microbus. No reports yet about victims. Some people have been hospitalized by a nervous breakdown.
- Update : Everybody in the country could be found on the streets after evacuating houses and buildings. The situation on the roads of the bigger cities is simply chaotic. Everybody wants to drive back home.
- Update : NOAA has released the following Tsunami bulletin : A DESTRUCTIVE WIDESPREAD TSUNAMI WAS NOT GENERATED BASED ON EARTHQUAKE AND HISTORICAL TSUNAMI DATA. HOWEVER, THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY OF SOME LOCAL TSUNAMI EFFECTS. THIS EARTHQUAKE IS LOCATED INLAND FROM THE COAST.
GDACS another agency who calculates tsunami heights has calculated that a max. tsunami wave of 0.1 meter may have occurred, nothing to be scared of.
- Update : the closest airports to the epicenter are Pinotepa Nacional (77km) and Ta Lo De Soto (71km)
- Update : there are NO hydrodams or NO Nuclear Plants in the vicinity of the epicenter
- Update : GDACS reports that the nearest populated places are: Coyul (16km), Putla de Guerrero (18km), Cuitlapa (15km), Laguna (3km). The closest civilian airport is Pinotepa Nacional (77km).
- Update : The area has currently a lot of aftershocks as could be expected. These aftershocks will go on for many hours and even days. Gradually they will get weaker but sometimes even M 6.x can be reached. People in the epicenter area will have to spend the night on the streets out of fear for aftershocks.
- Update : This earthquake is a subduction earthquake, which means that the Oceanic plate is gliging below the North American plate and often hangs for a while. When the accumulated energy is suddenly freed a massive earthquake is generated.
- Update : It will take a few hours before that we will have reports of the damage and eventually casualties. Every earthquake is totally different and high Magnitudes are not necessarily creating devastating damage. So, we have to be cautious to predict the damaging potential.
- Update : People are reporting shaking ALL OVER Mexico, which is very normal for these kind of magnitudes.
- Update : Phone lines a-in many parts of the countries are down. An earthquake-report.com reader is trying to contact her husband in Mexico-City, but can’t get through. This happens over and over again during earthquakes. PLEASE USE ONLY TEXT MESSAGES as Voice takes much more place on communication cables and will blocl ALL communication.
- Update : Earthquake-Report.com calls all cities at a radius of 30 km around the epicenter as HIGH RISK areas.
- Update : USGS reports that 278,000 people will have experienced a very strong shaking. This kind of shaking can cause severe damage in the direct epicenter. 757,000 people will have experienced a strong shaking.
- Update : 186 km (115 miles) E (96°) from Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico and 162 km (101 miles) WSW (255°) from Oaxaca, Oaxaca, Mexico
- Update : Comparisons in between the very strong earthquake at the end of last year are referring to a much stronger intensity now. Acapulca
- Update : Two cities are approx. 20 km from the epicenter and are at risk during this earthquake : Ometepec and San Juan Cacahuatepec
- Update : USGS has decreased the Magnitude from 7.9 to 7.6 at the modified depth of 17.5 km. These conditions are still VERY DAMADING
- Update : Reports arriving at Earthquake-Report.com are mentioning a duration of the shaking in Mexico City during 20 to 30 seconds.
- Update : We will have to wait a couple of minutes before Magnitudes and depths will be stabilized as different agencies are reporting big differences
- Update : Preliminary data from different seismological agencies are referring to Magnitudes from 7.9 (USGS), to 7.6 (GEOFON) and only 6.4 (EMSC). Both Geofon and USGS are referring to an extremely dangerous shallow depth of 10 km. EMSC mentions a 60 km much weaker impact
- Update : Extremely dangerous earthquake with epicenter near Cuitiapa
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“I Have Felt It” reports as received by Earthquake-Report.com
See below for all the received Earthquake Experience reports as received by earthquake-report.com
Most important Earthquake Data:
Magnitude : 7.4 (USGS), M 7.8 (Mexico)
UTC Time : Tuesday, March 20, 2012 at 18:02:53 UTC
Local time at epicenter : Tuesday, March 20, 2012 at 12:02:53 PM at epicenter
Depth (Hypocenter) : 10 km
10 km S Xochistlahuaca (pop 3,566)
20 km E Ometepec (pop 17,801)
165 km SE Chilpancingo (pop 165,250)
193 km (120 miles) E (83°) from Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico
262 km S Puebla (pop 1,392,099)
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
Focal mechanism report
Human impact map
GDACS earthquake report
I Have Felt this earthquake
|GEOFON||Near Coast Of Guerrero, Mexico||Mar 20 22:25 PM||4.8||54||MAP I Felt It|
|EMSC||Guerrero, Mexico||Mar 20 22:25 PM||5.0||45||MAP I Felt It|
|USGS||Guerrero, Mexico||Mar 20 22:25 PM||5.0||21||MAP I Felt It|
|EMSC||Oaxaca, Mexico||Mar 20 21:43 PM||4.6||21||MAP I Felt It|
|USGS||Oaxaca, Mexico||Mar 20 21:43 PM||4.6||20||MAP I Felt It|
|GEOFON||Near Coast Of Guerrero, Mexico||Mar 20 21:43 PM||4.5||10||MAP I Felt It|
|EMSC||Oaxaca, Mexico||Mar 20 20:14 PM||5.1||40||MAP I Felt It|
|USGS||Oaxaca, Mexico||Mar 20 20:14 PM||5.1||10||MAP I Felt It|
|GEOFON||Near Coast Of Guerrero, Mexico||Mar 20 20:14 PM||4.9||10||MAP I Felt It|
|USGS||Oaxaca, Mexico||Mar 20 19:34 PM||4.8||18||MAP I Felt It|
|EMSC||Oaxaca, Mexico||Mar 20 19:34 PM||4.8||10||MAP I Felt It|
|GEOFON||Near Coast Of Guerrero, Mexico||Mar 20 19:34 PM||4.5||10||MAP I Felt It|
|GEOFON||Near Coast Of Guerrero, Mexico||Mar 20 19:19 PM||4.5||10||MAP I Felt It|
|EMSC||Offshore Oaxaca, Mexico||Mar 20 19:19 PM||4.7||10||MAP I Felt It|
|USGS||Offshore Oaxaca, Mexico||Mar 20 19:19 PM||4.7||13||MAP I Felt It|
|EMSC||Oaxaca, Mexico||Mar 20 19:02 PM||5.2||30||MAP I Felt It|
|USGS||Oaxaca, Mexico||Mar 20 19:02 PM||5.1||25||MAP I Felt It|
|GEOFON||Near Coast Of Guerrero, Mexico||Mar 20 19:02 PM||5.1||19||MAP I Felt It|
|EMSC||Oaxaca, Mexico||Mar 20 18:35 PM||5.0||60||MAP I Felt It|
|USGS||Oaxaca, Mexico||Mar 20 18:35 PM||5.1||10||MAP I Felt It|
|GEOFON||Near Coast Of Guerrero, Mexico||Mar 20 18:35 PM||5.0||20||MAP I Felt It|
|GEOFON||Near Coast Of Guerrero, Mexico||Mar 20 18:22 PM||5.2||19||MAP I Felt It|
|USGS||Oaxaca, Mexico||Mar 20 18:22 PM||5.3||18||MAP I Felt It|
|EMSC||Oaxaca, Mexico||Mar 20 18:22 PM||5.3||15||MAP I Felt It|
|USGS||Guerrero, Mexico||Mar 20 18:02 PM||7.9||10||MAP I Felt It|
|GEOFON||Near Coast Of Guerrero, Mexico||Mar 20 18:02 PM||7.3||34||MAP I Felt It|
|EMSC||Guerrero, Mexico||Mar 20 18:02 PM||7.4||19||MAP I Felt It|
|USGS||Oaxaca, Mexico||Mar 20 18:02 PM||7.4||20||MAP I Felt It|
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