A powerful earthquake shook a wide area of Mexico on Friday, terrifying residents and sending many fleeing into the streets.
The powerful magnitude 7.2 quake shook central and southern Mexico. Some walls cracked and fell, but there were no early reports of major damage or casualties. Information from elsewhere in central Mexico was still coming in.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake at about 9:30 a.m. local time (10:30 EDT) was centered on a long-dormant fault line northwest of the Pacific resort of Acapulco, where many Mexicans are vacationing for the Easter holiday.
The quake struck 170 miles southwest of Mexico City, where people fled high rises and took to the streets, many still in bathrobes and pajamas on their day off.
It was felt across at least a half dozen states and Mexico’s capital, where it shook for at least 30 seconds. Around the region, there were reports of isolated and minor damage, such as fallen fences, trees and broken windows. Chilpancingo, capital of the southern state of Guerrero, where the quake was centered, reported a power outage, but service was restored after 15 minutes.
Mexico City mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said there were small power outages from fallen transformers but officials were working to restore the service.
In many cases of earthquakes in Mexico, it can take time to receive word from remote areas near the epicenter, where damage could be more extensive. There were no early reports of serious damage or injuries near the epicenter in Tecpan de Galeana.
Ricardo de la Cruz, a civil protection chief for the Interior Ministry, said “We have only gotten reports of minor damage.”
Friday’s quake occurred along a section of the Pacific Coast known as the Guerrero Seismic Gap, a 125 mile section where tectonic plates meet and have been locked, meaning huge amounts of energy are being stored up with potentially devastating effects, said USGS seismologist Gavin Hayes.
The last large quake that occurred along the section was a magnitude 7.6 temblor in 1911, Hayes said.
Much of Mexico City was destroyed and more than 10,000 people were killed in a magnitude 8.1 earthquake in 1985, but officials say they have put more safeguards into place since then.
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