MEXICO CITY – A 6.5-magnitude earthquake struck in Mexico’s western Guerrero state Saturday night, shaking buildings and causing panic in the nation’s capital and the Pacific resort of Acapulco. Officials said at least three people died, but there were no reports of widespread damage.
The U.S. Geological Survey initially estimated the quake’s magnitude at 6.8 but downgraded it to 6.7 and then 6.5. A quake of that magnitude is capable of causing severe damage, although the depth of this temblor lessened its impact.
The USGS said the quake occurred at a depth of 40.3 miles. It was centered about 26 miles southwest of Iguala in Guerrero and 103 miles south-southwest of Mexico City.
Mexico’s Interior Department said the quake was felt in parts of nine states.
Humberto Calvo, undersecretary of Guerrero’s Civil Protection agency, said three deaths had been reported in the state.
High-rises swayed in the center of Mexico City for more than a minute, and shoppers were temporarily herded out of some shopping centers until the danger passed.
Mexico City’s mayor, Marcelo Ebrard, reported by Twitter that no major damage had been reported. He said power failed in some parts of the city.
People in one part of Mexico City’s upscale Condesa neighborhood ran out of their houses and gathered in the streets, hugging each other while some shook and began to cry.
On one street, a group of women joined hands in a circle, closed their eyes and began to pray.
“Please God, help us and let everything be OK,” said one. “It’s OK. It’s OK. Everything is OK.”
Parts of Mexico City rest on the shaky soil of a former lake bed, which tends to magnify the effect of earthquakes. An 8.1-magnitude quake in 1985 killed as many as 10,000 people in the city.
In Acapulco, which is in Guerrero, hundreds of anxious tourists congregated in the street after fleeing rocking buildings that are strung along the coastal boulevard.