Apr 112012

Two major earthquakes in two days! Fortunately, they struck in different sections along Mexico’s west coast, meaning that few if any people were shaken by both. The first earthquake struck in Michoacán on 11 April, and was felt over a wide area of central Mexico. This earthquake registered 6.5 on the Richter scale (preliminary estimates had originally suggested it was magnitude 7.0).

The La Mira earthquake, Michoacán (source: USGS]:

  • Time: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 17:55 local time
  • Location 18.272N, 102.732̊W
  • Depth 20 km (12.4 miles)
  • The epicenter was about 61 km (38 miles) NW from Lázaro Cárdenas, Michoacán, 130 km (80 miles) SSW from Uruapan, Michoacán, and 143 km (88 miles) NW of Zihuatanejo, Guerrero. This placed it relatively close to the community of La Mira in the state of Michoacán.
  • Only minor damage was reported following this earthquake, despite its magnitude.

The Santa Isabel earthquake

The following day (12.15 am local time on 12 April), an even larger earthquake, magnitude 6.9, hit further north in Mexico, close to the coast of Baja California. Its epicenter was 183 kilometers (113 miles) from Santa Rosalia (Baja California Sur) and 214 kilometers (132 miles) from Hermosillo (Sonora). This meant that its effects were greatest in areas where population is very sparse (see map), and fortunately, once again, there were no reports of any loss of life or major damage.

Few people live in the region struck by the Santa Isabel earthquake.

Few people live in the region struck by the Santa Isabel earthquake.Credit: USGS

These two earthquakes come less than a month after the major magnitude 7.4 earthquake that hit the states of Oaxaca and Guerrero on 20 March 2012. This ‘quake caused significant damage – and was followed by dozens of aftershocks, including one on 2 April that registered 6.0 on the Richter scale.

Now that several parts of this junction of tectonic plates have shifted in quick succession, everyone hopes that these earthquakes will have relieved enough pent-up pressure, and re-adjusted the plates  sufficiently, to prevent further earthquakes in the region in the near future.

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