Read our affiliate link policy. Russell Pysklywec: An earthquake occurs when there's release of energy with slip or fracture of rock within the Earth, with the plate motions providing a massive amount of energy. Mexico’s most recent earthquakes did not directly involve two tectonic plates clashing, as is commonly the case. Mexico is located on one of Earth's subduction zones, where the ocean floor of the Cocos tectonic plate is forcing its way down ("subducting") beneath the continental edge of the North American plate. This earthquake comes just 12 days after major M8.1 quake near the coast of Chiapas, Mexico and on the anniversary of the devastating 1985 M8.0 … 2017 earthquake off Mexico broke through an entire tectonic plate September 2017 saw a pair of weird earthquakes in Mexico. The explanation here is that as the oceanic plate disappears beneath the continent, it sinks downward into the mantle. Seismologists can model the process backward from the measured surface movement and figure out how the fault moved underground. Not only do these earthquakes produce dangerous shaking, but if they occur close enough to the point on the seafloor where the two plates meet, they can push up seawater and create a tsunami wave. People from as far away as Mexico City felt the shaking from this deep quake, many of whom evacuated their buildings, spilling out into plazas and open space… Since the plates there seem to break rules followed by plate boundaries elsewhere around the world, the local rules need to be better understood. Within 250 km of the September 19, 2017, earthquake there … © 2021 Condé Nast. Its epicenter was about 55 km (34 mi) south of the city of Puebla. two earthquakes that struck Mexico this month. Second, the sinking plate pulls downward as it “hangs” from the part of the plate that is still up at the surface—another stretching force. Use of and/or registration on any portion of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement (updated 1/1/20) and Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement (updated 1/1/20) and Ars Technica Addendum (effective 8/21/2018). Both September earthquakes were the result of stretching, however, which is almost as much of a head-scratcher as finding that part of your car’s engine was pulled apart during a head-on crash. However, as this week’s events have shown, more work is still to be done in retro-fitting older buildings to bring them up to modern standards. While the two earthquakes were not connected, they were the same type of earthquake, which is unusual in the region. Scott K. Johnson - Oct 4, 2018 2:50 pm UTC A deadly magnitude-8.2 earthquake struck the southern coast of Mexico on 7 September, killing dozens of people and injuring at least 200. The two earthquakes occurred within just 11 days of each other and both were within the sinking Cocos plate. The reasonably shallow depth suggested that this particular part of the Pacific Ring of Fire does not behave as we expect. The epicentre of the quake was 120 km southeast of Mexico City, 12 km southeast of the city of Axochiapan, Morelos on the boundary between Puebla and Guerrero. A magnitude 8 earthquake that struck the city of Chillán in 1939 contributed to the deaths of nearly 30,000 people. Almost nine million people live in Mexico City. All rights reserved. subduction zone, Mexico City is subjected to both interplate (epicenter at plate boundary) and intraplate (epicenter inside the continental plate) earthquakes. EMSC is reporting M7.1 at a depth of 30 km (18.6 miles).. A magnitude 8.2 on September 8 just offshore the state of Chiapas was followed by a magnitude 7.1 on September 19—this time much closer to Mexico City, causing considerable destruction there. The M=6.6 earthquake ruptured at 67 km (40 mi) deep along the plate boundary formed offshore of Central America on 1 February 2019. Mexico City is especially prone to severe damage because of the ground it sits on — an ancient lakebed that quivers like jello, Bellini says. Due to the ongoing subduction of the Cocos plate, earthquakes of this nature in this location are common. The 8.2 magnitude earthquake that brought devastation and 98 deaths to southern Mexico in September 2017 was even more extreme than initially thought — it split the tectonic plate … The 1985 earthquake was the more typical great earthquake that breaks the boundary between the plates, and caused great devastation in Mexico City despite being more than 100 miles distant. The movement started at a spot about 46km down and spread outward along the plane of the fault from there. The magnitude-8.0 quake occurred at 7:18 am.Many sources place the location of the epicentre in the state of Michoacán—approximately 200 miles (320 km) from Mexico City—in a region of tectonic tension between the North American Plate and the subducting Cocos Plate. We are often reminded about the force and devastation from earthquakes that occur around the Pacific Ring of Fire. The 7.1 magnitude earthquake, 19 September. First, seawater percolating down into the cracks that formed as the oceanic plate first bent to head beneath the continent could have cooled the rock and reacted with minerals, making the rock more brittle than it would be otherwise. All, the region striking Indonesia, Chile and Japan over the.. Weird earthquakes in Mexico involved more fault movement than thought possible the oceanic plate disappears beneath continent. 8.2 in Mexico City, where an oceanic plate collides with and dives beneath the continent, it difficult! 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