A wall is damaged at a home in Tlayacapan on Wednesday, September 20. The 1985 Mexico City earthquake struck in the early morning of 19 September at 07:17:50 (CST) with a moment magnitude of 8.0 and a maximal Mercalli intensity of IX (Violent). Volunteers arrange food and other donated supplies at a distribution point in Mexico City on September 20. The U.S. Geological Survey Mexico reported that Mexico held a long history of destructive earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Volunteers organize donations in Mexico City on September 20. “The priority now is continue rescuing those who are still trapped and provide medical attention to the injured,” Mexico's President Enrique Peña Nieto said in a video statement, according to KTLA.com. An injured person is carried away after being rescued in Mexico City on Tuesday, September 19. It was 30 years ago today that at least 5,000 people — some estimates put the number at closer to 10,000, others at four times that — died in the powerful Mexico City earthquake of 1985. 10,000 people lost their lives, 30,000 were injured and thousands more were left homeless. When the damage was finally assessed, 3,000 buildings in Mexico City were demolished and another 100,000 suffered serious damage. The sequence of events included a foreshock of magnitude 5.2 that occurred the prior May, the main shock on 19 September, and two large aftershocks. Miles away in Mexico City the damage has been extensive we begin with ABC's bill Blakemore. Mexico City in chaos is what we saw when these first … The earthquake caused damage in the Mexican states of Puebla and Morelos and in the Greater Mexico City area, including the collapse of more than 40 buildings. Rescuers in Mexico City work to save a child. 17th Annual Photo Contest Finalists Announced. One might assume that the Sept. 8 … Depending on the frequency of the seismic waves, the movement of the ground can feed energy into buildings of a certain height. The reason: Ancient sediments that underlie the city trap and magnify the vibrations that ripple through the region. Rescuers and firefighters lower a corpse from a house in Mexico City on September 20. Almost nine million people live in Mexico City. Its soil amplifies shaking like Jell-O on a plate, and is prone to liquefaction, which is the ability to transform dirt into a dense liquid when sufficiently churned. When the damage was finally assessed, 3,000 buildings in Mexico City … People look for survivors in Mexico City on September 20. The earthquake caused landslides, rockslides, and sandblows, opened cracks in the ground and damaged or destroyed buildings. Vote Now! "It's almost like a bathtub, the [seismic] waves will slosh back and forth," she says. But when they roll into the soft sediments of a basin, the vibrations can become trapped, reverberating back and forth through the material, explains Susan Hough, a seismologist with the USGS. “No one had designed for it, and that is why so many buildings failed.”. “When seismic waves make a basin shake at one of these natural frequencies, significant amplification may occur.”. Mexico has been learning how to deal with this problem the hard way. “If you start pushing every 5 seconds, it will just mess things up.” That is, the pushes won’t have a cumulative effect. REBECCA LAI SEPT. 23, 2017 A 7.1 magnitude earthquake on Tuesday killed more than … Meantime Mexico's. Sides of building crumble after Mexican quake, trapped inside the Enrique Rebsamen elementary school, John Vidale: Mexico's earthquake caused by crumpling from the downward bending of the sinking Cocos Plate deep within earth, He says cure for devastation: make buildings earthquake proof. Tuesday's toll indicates there is yet more work to do. Plate tectonics was the engine behind the shaking, as is true for all major earthquakes. Additional damage occurred in Mexico City when adjacent 20 story buildings swayed enough to bump into one another. Mexico shares your grief.”. The 1985 earthquake was the more typical great earthquake that breaks the boundary between the plates, and caused great devastation in Mexico City despite being more than 100 miles distant. But yesterday, soon after business had resumed, central Mexico was rocked by a real—and deadly—7.1-magnitude earthquake. That earthquake was an 8.0 magnitude and it caused extreme damage to Mexico City. As buildings began to sway, crowds poured into the streets. The US Geological Survey predicts up to … Her work has appeared on National Geographic and AGU's Eos and Plainspoken Scientist. People react in Mexico City just after the quake hit. “Unfortunately many people have lost their lives, including girls and boys in schools, buildings and houses. Flash Report on Damage Caused in Mexico City, Mexico, by the 2017 Puebla-Morelos Earthquake Tsuneo OHSUMI Dr., Research Center for Reinforcement of Resilient Function, National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Resilience (NIED), Tsukuba, … A volunteer in Mexico City asks for silence as a flattened building is searched for survivors on September 20. Cookie Policy If the government continues to deem it worthwhile, the United States will also have an early warning system in a few years. 370 people were killed by the earthquake and related building collapses, including 228 in Mexico City, and more than 6,000 were injured. This annual rite both honors the 10,000 people who lost their lives in that disaster and prepares the city’s current residents for the next natural disaster. Along the coast of Mexico, the Cocos Plate slides underneath the North American Plate, moving about three inches per year. or While it’s long been known that sediments can magnify tremors, researchers didn’t learn exactly how dramatic the effects could be until 1985. "No one expected the intensities of motion that were recorded in Mexico City,” Berto said. This, as yesterday’s quake shows, causes them to sway—and eventually topple. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. As well, the tremors led to gas mains to break causing fires and explosions throughout Mexico City. A police officer runs toward the site where a building collapsed in Mexico City on September 19. Mexico City sits atop an ancient shallow lake, with soils made of sediments that washed in from the surrounding mountains thousands of years ago. Mexico City’s lakebed geology also make it prone to an even more dramatic disaster: liquefaction. Liquefaction worsened the impacts of the 1985 earthquake, undermining the foundation of many buildings. The cause of this earthquake was the plate tectonics by crumpling arising from the downward bending of the sinking Cocos Plate, instead of moving directly by slippage between plates (Vidale). KTLA- Damage Caused by 7.1 Earthquake in Mexico City. This was also the cause of the 8.1-earthquake that hit Mexico two weeks ago. Hundreds more have shaken the thousands of miles that make up the country's coastline, many topping eight on the equivalent Richter scale. Recovery efforts take place at the collapse of a residential building in Mexico City on September 19. Give a Gift. Coming off the heels of Mexico City's latest tragedy, however, the focus must be on the people of central Mexico. Though the Spanish later drained the surrounding waters to prevent frequent flooding, the effects of that decision can still be felt today. The shaking energy was generated at the earthquake's source, 30 miles deep, for just 20 seconds, but the waves reverberated for much longer, up to a minute or two, in the mountain and valleys. The quake damaged the Jojutla Municipal Palace. Get the best of Smithsonian magazine by email. If there is a silver lining to these destructive natural events, it’s that they present an opportunity for scientists to collect real world data in hopes of better understanding and coping with future disasters. Unfortunately, Tuesday’s temblor is just the latest chapter in Mexico’s long and tragic history of earthquakes. The earthquake happened on the anniversary of a 1985 quake that killed an estimated 9,500 people in and around Mexico City. Tuesday’s earthquake, however, was caused by … The seismic waves that were taking down buildings were five times greater than waves outside the city, according to measurements taken during that event, reported the LA Times. 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