I’ve been watching the news about the earthquake in Italy today. I know exactly what it’s like to sit through a 6.3 quake. That is a strong one – quakes that powerful have killed tens of thousands in one fell swoop in cities around the world. But I don’t quite know what it’s like to have buildings around me tumbling down. There are too many earthquakes here for a weak building to survive for long. So weak buildings aren’t generally built. In theory.
A 6.3 is the strongest quake we’ve had in the city since I arrived in 2005. I also came here on holiday in 2003 shortly after a 7.3 quake had hit. Quakes in the 5.5 to 6.0 region are pretty common. Yet there’s been no serious damage to the city since (as far as I’m aware) the massive 8.1 earthquake in 1985.
Smaller quakes are generally greeted as welcome by Mexico City’s population, with the theory that small but frequent is better than big but rare. Although, if you read through the Wiki article I linked to, a relatively minor 5.2 is grouped into the seismic event of ’85, with two after shocks in the 7 plus category.