Magnitude 7.2 quake rocks Mexico's capital and Oaxaca state

A 7.2 magnitude quake rocked Mexico on Friday, a prolonged rumble that the government said had caused minor damage to buildings in the southern state of Oaxaca, but with no preliminary reports of deaths.

The epicentre was close to a surfer resort, Puerto Escondido, on the Pacific coast in the southern state of Oaxaca and had a depth of 24.6 kilometres, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Both the south of Mexico and the capital are still reeling from earthquakes that caused widespread damage in September and the powerful, sustained shaking on Friday caused widespread panic.

Authorities said no deaths had been reported.

Interior Minister Alfonso Navarrete said Friday’s quake caused some superficial damage to buildings in Oaxaca and the state’s governor said about 100,000 people had lost power.

Images in the media appeared to show bricks and rubble fallen from buildings, and products tumbling off shelves in a supermarket.

Tremors were felt as far away as Guatemala to the south.

The Popocatepetl volcano south of the capital sent a kilometre-high column of ash into the sky, said Mexico’s disaster prevention agency.

In Mexico City, tall buildings swayed for more than a minute as seismic alarms sounded, with older structures in the chic Condesa neighbourhood knocking into each other, and some cracks appearing in plaster and paintwork.

MEXICO-QUAKE/

The streets of Mexico were crowded following the 7.2 magnitude earthquake as people fled rattling buildings. No deaths have been reported. (Claudia Daut/Reuters)

Two young men standing by a building that collapsed in a Sept. 19 earthquake were still hugging minutes after the tremor. People crowded in the streets, one lady in her pyjamas.

Trees, overhead cables and cars swayed, and a fire truck raced down the street.

Patricia Gutierrez, a 66-year-old English teacher, was taking a nap with her 11-month-old granddaughter, Juliet, when she heard the alarm.

“She recognized the sound. When I opened my eyes, I saw her eyes in terror. Her eyes were wide, like plates. She didn’t say anything,” Gutierrez said of her granddaughter.

Gutierrez managed to leave her ground floor apartment before the quake began. “I left the phone and everything except for my shoes and the baby,” she said.

Guadalupe Martinez, a 64-year-old retiree, said she was still shaking from shock. But the quake was a far cry from the tremors that struck Mexico in September, Martinez said.

“This time it was strong, but it did not jump up and down,” she said. 

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