Environment

Strong M6.6 earthquake hits Chiapas, Mexico


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A strong earthquake registered by the USGS as M6.6 hit Chiapas, Mexico at 16:14 UTC (10:14 local time) on February 1, 2019. The agency is reporting a depth 67.9 km (42.1 miles). EMSC is reporting M6.6 at a depth of 70 km (43.5 miles). GEOFON reports it as M6.5 at a depth of 72 km (44.7 miles). The USGS issued a yellow alert for shaking-related fatalities and economic losses. 

The epicenter was located 2.7 km (1.7 miles) SE of Congregacion Reforma (population 1 132), 16.2 km (10.1 miles) SSW of Tapachula (population 197 961), 19.4 km (12.1 miles) WNW of Ciudad Tecun Uman (population 11 432), and 26.3 km (16.4 miles) NNW of Brisas Barra de Suchiate (population 13 743), Mexico.

There are 395 000 people living within 100 km (62 miles).

680 000 people are estimated to have felt strong shaking, 1 479 000 moderate, 9 188 000 light and 33 914 000 light.

There were no immediate reports of injuries but there are some high-rise office buildings in Mexico City were evacuated.

The USGS issued a yellow alert for shaking-related fatalities and economic losses. Some casualties and damage are possible and the impact should be relatively localized. Past yellow alerts have required a local or regional level response. Estimated economic losses are less than 1% of GDP of Mexico.

Overall, the population in this region resides in structures that are highly vulnerable to earthquake shaking, though some resistant structures exist. The predominant vulnerable building types are mud wall and informal (metal, timber, GI etc.) construction.

Recent earthquakes in this area have caused secondary hazards such as landslides that might have contributed to losses.

Estimated population exposure to earthquake shaking

Selected cities exposed

Regional seismicity

Featured image credit: Google, EMSC, TW/SAM

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