An 8.1 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of southern Mexico near Chiapas late last night. The earthquake was shallow (only 43 miles deep) and strong enough that it was felt as far away as Mexico City, which is 600 miles away from the epicenter, according to CNN. At least 32 people have been killed in Mexico. According to the Associated Press, there is an unconfirmed report of one person dead in neighboring Guatemala.
Buildings shook for almost a full minute after a magnitude 8.1 earthquake struck off the coast of southern Mexico near Chiapas.
— Morgan Palmer (@MorganKIRO7) September 8, 2017
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has called the earthquake the strongest Mexico has experienced in 100 years. According to CNN, 32 people have died so far, with 23 deaths in Oaxaca, seven deaths in Chiapas, and two deaths reported in Tabasco.
People have shared videos of the earthquake on social media that show buildings crumbling as they shake.
— Alerta Chiapas ⚡ (@AlertaChiapas) September 8, 2017
According to LA Times, two women in Chiapas died after a home collapsed and one child in Tabasco died after a wall fell.
There are reports that some hospitals in the affected area are still without power and first responders are searching for survivors.
— Libertario⚡️ (@venezolanodecen) September 8, 2017
“Please, we urgently need as much help as you can send,” Pamela Terán, a city councilor in Juchitán, Oaxaca, said in a video, according to The New York Times. “We need hands and manpower to try and dig out the people that we know are buried under the rubble.”
Mexico City, 600 miles north of the epicenter of the earthquake, felt the force.
— Rafael Anchía (@RafaelAnchia) September 8, 2017
Schools in Mexico City and 10 Mexican states impacted by the earthquake have been closed for the day as the country assesses all the damage caused by the earthquake, according to The New York Times.
The skies over Mexico City flashed with lights during the earthquake.
— Think Mexican (@ThinkMexican) September 8, 2017
There is some debate about what caused the lights, which is a phenomenon that has been reported during previous earthquakes, according to Forbes.
Forbes reports that there are two theories that can explain the lights. One is that the lights are a release of energy from the ground during seismic activity that is similar to lightning. The second is electrical power sources exploding due to the shaking and movement brought on by the earthquake.
The United States Geological Survey has reported around 20 aftershocks following the earthquake.
— delavega (@2peru2000) September 8, 2017
According to LA Times, Peña Nieto has warned that a 7.2 magnitude aftershock is likely.
Mexican authorities and first responders are still assessing the damage and looking through rubble for more survivors.
— The Weather Channel (@weatherchannel) September 8, 2017