We have earthquakes on a reasonably regular basis in Mexico. Many are so small that they go unnoticed. Some are just about strong enough to be felt and make light fittings swing from the ceiling. And then there is one now and again that has people leaving their homes, just in case. I remember my first earthquake here pretty well. It was a small 5.5, and I felt the sofa in the coffee shop I was sitting in at the time sway gently. That was 2005.
In 2007 we got hit by a pretty big one, a 6.3. My mum was visiting at the time, and didn’t sleep too well afterwards. She was able to tell us of the 5.5 aftershock the next morning anyway. And a few weeks ago another 5.5 shook a few loose tiles from rooftops.
Today we had one that felt very strong, and seemed to go on for a long time. I was convinced it was at least as big as the 2007 quake, but it turns out that it was ‘only’ a 5.7. Which in Mexico City is nothing too special. They tend to have earthquakes in the 7 plus range once or twice a decade here. In 1985 the city was rocked by a massive 8.1 that killed thousands.
I wasn’t the only one to think it stronger than it turned out to be. Twitter came alive with fellow residents of the city, and others in Oaxaca and beyond, who believed it to be a ‘big one’. I guessed 6.0 to 6.3. I was wrong. I suspect that the epicenter, in Puebla, made it feel stronger….earthquakes that we feel here often originate farther away, often from the Pacific Ocean. Want to check out who got hit by a quake today? USGS is the place to go. At the time of writing, Mexico’s quake is the biggest in the world so far today, and in fact the strongest since May 16th.