8.1 Earthquake Jolts Mexico — and It Was the Strongest in a Century

Last night at 11:49 p.m. (EST), an 8.1 earthquake struck Mexico and seismic experts say it was the biggest earthquake in the area in a century. The epicenter registered off Mexico‘s southern Pacific Coast between the states of Oaxaca and Chiapas. It was felt throughout the country and in parts of Guatemala, Guatemala, and Belize. While this is a developing story, officials are reporting the deaths of 15 people. According to NPR, there have been about 20 aftershocks already.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto was tweeting throughout the night and early this morning. He called it the strongest earthquake in a century. The Associated Press reports that on June 3, 1932, Mexico City was previously hit with an 8.1 earthquake.

He also tweeted that “Civil protection protocols are activated, including the National Emergency Committee.” The Mexican government initially called for a tsunami warning but The New York Times is reporting that neither the coasts of Oaxaca and Chiapas have been “affected by waves in the aftermath,” and added that the “Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said the largest wave recorded on Mexico’s Pacific Coast measured less than four feet.

Paulaina Gomez-Wulschner told CNN that she was driving when the earthquake began. She said cars began to go toward the middle of the road to avoid falling objects.

This was a very, very strong earthquake, one of the strongest I’ve felt, and I was here in 1985 when that earthquake collapsed Mexico City,” Gomez-Wulschner told CNN.”It was very scary.”
Emily Green, a reporter for NPR was in Mexico City at the time, roughly 650 miles from the epicenter. She said that she was on the street when the shaking began and said that it last for “a long time,” and added “it felt like more than a minute, but it was probably a minute.”

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