But when they roll into the soft sediments of a basin, the vibrations can become trapped, reverberating back and forth through the material, explains Susan Hough, a seismologist with the USGS. REBECCA LAI SEPT. 23, 2017 A 7.1 magnitude earthquake on Tuesday killed more than … Vote Now! Overall, the slope stability issues caused by the 2017 Puebla-Mexico City earthquake were relatively minor compared with the reported structural damage . Tuesday's earthquake took place on the anniversary of a devastating earthquake that killed thousands in Mexico City in 1985. Initial reports are that the system worked Tuesday. The temblor nearly flattened the distant Mexico City, yet left many cities close to the epicenter nearly unscathed. The earthquake caused landslides, rockslides, and sandblows, opened cracks in the ground and damaged or destroyed buildings. A magnitude 7.1 quake. One might assume that the Sept. 8 … The sequence of events included a foreshock of magnitude 5.2 that occurred the prior May, the main shock on 19 September, and two large aftershocks. It is not immediately clear whether Tuesday's earthquake was triggered by the earlier one or if it is unrelated -- usually aftershocks are not so distant in time. Hundreds more have shaken the thousands of miles that make up the country's coastline, many topping eight on the equivalent Richter scale. Less than 15 minutes after the quake, thousands of people in the capital lay dead and the Mexican economy was shattered for years to come. Volunteers organize donations in Mexico City on September 20. While it is not yet known if this is a factor for the latest quake, “it would not be surprising,” says Polet. “A basin will have natural frequencies, which depend on its shape and size, as well as the material properties of the sediments inside,” explains Jascha Polet, a geophysicist at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, via e-mail. "It's almost like a bathtub, the [seismic] waves will slosh back and forth," she says. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the epicenter of the earthquake took place in Raboso, Mexico—about 75 miles south of the capital city. However, this was not the cause of the most severe structural damage. "No one expected the intensities of motion that were recorded in Mexico City,” Berto said. KTLA- Damage Caused by 7.1 Earthquake in Mexico City. Meantime Mexico's. Rescuers and firefighters lower a corpse from a house in Mexico City on September 20. Along the coast of Mexico, the Cocos Plate slides underneath the North American Plate, moving about three inches per year. This was also the cause of the 8.1-earthquake that hit Mexico two weeks ago. Powerful Earthquake Jolts Southern Mexico and Kills at Least 6 The 7.5-magnitude quake, centered on the Pacific Coast in the state of Oaxaca, damaged some structures and caused buildings to … “If you start pushing every 5 seconds, it will just mess things up.” That is, the pushes won’t have a cumulative effect. The seismic waves that were taking down buildings were five times greater than waves outside the city, according to measurements taken during that event, reported the LA Times. Patients from a Mexico City hospital receive treatment outside after the hospital was evacuated on September 19. When the damage was finally assessed, 3,000 buildings in Mexico City were demolished and another 100,000 suffered serious damage. Photos show the devastating impact of the deadly 7.1 magnitude earthquake that rattled Mexico City, killing more than 220 people The quake killed at least 220 people Time.com Get the best of Smithsonian magazine by email. Additional damage occurred in Mexico City when adjacent 20 story buildings swayed enough to bump into one another. Children's toys are seen in a damaged building in Mexico City on September 20. Mexico has been learning how to deal with this problem the hard way. Although there was severe damage in the coastal regions, the real disaster happened 220 miles away in Mexico City. This latest quake was centered on a region where the Cocos tectonic plate, which sits beneath the Pacific Ocean, is slowly being shoved beneath the continental North American plate. What many don’t realize is that there’s a simple reason behind this region’s propensity for cataclysms: The geology of Mexico—and particularly that of Mexico City—makes it a perfect storm for seismic catastrophe. 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