- Authorities reported a 5.1 magnitude earthquake in Oaxaca, Mexico.
- Despite the distance, citizens said they felt the earthquake in Mexico City.
- Civil Protection remains on alert for any incidents caused by the earthquake.
It was a shaky Sunday for Mexicans. Authorities report a 5.1 magnitude earthquake in Oaxaca in southern Mexico. It was felt even as far away as the Mexican capital. Civil Protection remains alert to any incidents caused by the earthquake.
The National Seismological Service of México reported that on Sunday, December 5, after six in the evening, an earthquake was registered 15 kilometers southeast of Crucecita, in the southern state of Oaxaca. Despite the distance, citizens said they felt the earthquake as far away as Mexico City.
A 5.1 magnitude earthquake was reported in Oaxaca and felt in Mexico City
The Mexican agency reported that the quake was a 5.3 magnitude, but they soon adjusted their assessment. “EARTHQUAKE Magnitude 5.1 Loc 15 km SOUTHEAST of CRUCECITA, OAX 12/05/21 18:20:03 Lat 15.64 Lon -96.08 Pf 9 km,” they posted on Twitter.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) also reported that it was a 5.1 magnitude earthquake on the Richter seismological scale. They pointed out that the epicenter was located 33.2 kilometers deep, while the Mexico Seismological Service said it had been 9 kilometers deep.
Earthquake reported in Mexico: Civil Protection on alert
Minutes after the earthquake, the Oaxaca Civil Protection sent a message to the community. They stated that they had not received any damage reports, but that they were on alert for any eventuality. However, citizens reported on social media that some had to vacate their homes, Meter reported.
“Being 6:45 pm. No damage report, but the #CEPCO remains alert and constantly monitors incidents due to seismic events,” wrote Civil Protection of Oaxaca on Twitter, also referring to the preliminary part of the Seismological Service of Mexico.
The earthquake was felt in Mexico City
The earthquake in Oaxaca was felt in some areas of Mexico City, people wrote on social media. Gabisita Rendón noted: “We have an earthquake … @SkyAlertMx to the south of the cdmx It felt light, like slight dizziness.”
Although it was felt in the capital, Mexico City did not see the need to activate the seismic alert. “#Equake detected on Dec 5, 21 at 18:20:09. IT DID NOT ACTIVATE A SEISMIC ALERT because the energy estimate in the first seconds did not exceed the pre-established levels,” clarified the Mexican Seismic Alert System.
Experts warn of a major earthquake coming to Chile
Experts also warned that a major earthquake is coming to Chile, especially after the constant tremors that have been registered recently. At this time, the San Ramón geological fault, which is located east of Santiago, the capital of Chile, is active. This has put the country under warning because, at any time, an earthquake that registers higher than 7.5 on the Richter scale can occur.
This fault’s proximity to the metropolitan area puts about 3 million citizens at risk, mainly residents of a highly populated area in Santiago de Chile where at least six residential neighborhoods are located, local media reported. Experts have explained that the fault is active, so the risk of the major earthquake occurring at any moment is still present. In fact, some time ago, they warned that construction should not continue in that area. However, there are already residences, universities, and shopping centers over 55% of the surface of the fault. In its vicinity, there is also the plant of the Chilean Nuclear Energy Commission in La Reina and a gas plant.
The San Ramón fault is active
The risk is enormous. Experts have been analyzing a study that reveals that if an earthquake of up to 7.5 magnitude is registered, it could cause serious damage in the country’s capital, even greater than the earthquake of February 27, 2010. The most affected population would be Puente High, with 61.8% of its inhabitants at risk, then Las Condes (55.4%), Peñalolén (39.6%), and La Florida (34.6%), Infobae reported.
Gabriel Easton, professor at the Faculty of Sciences and Mathematics of the University of Chile, explained that such intense earthquakes are capable of dislocating a block that rises up to 5 meters over 50 kilometers. “The most complicated thing that one can expect from the activity of a fault like this is that the ground breaks for kilometers, even for tens of kilometers, that one cortical block rises with respect to another, and that if you have an infrastructure up, it is very difficult to resist,” he added.
The national government’s responsibility
Experts are concerned about the government’s responsibility regarding a possible earthquake of great magnitude. Chilean geographer Marcelo Lagos said in an interview on TVN that, “clearly the Congress through a commission reveals to us the substantive negligence that, for more than a decade, the State and the Governments that we have had to date, have minimized the risk posed by this tectonic phenomenon known as the San Ramón fault.”
We have, “confirmed that the scenario of seismic danger in the main human settlement in this country has changed for a long time and with all this information on the table, the State and the Governments in charge have not managed to use this information to guarantee citizens’ safety, particularly in the foothills of Santiago, where we know millions of people live,” said Lagos.
The San Ramón fault
The San Ramón fault is located east of Santiago de Chile and runs between 10 and 12 kilometers through the communes of Vitacura, Las Condes, La Reina, Peñalolén, La Florida, and Puente Alto, even reaching Lo Barnechea and Pirque. It is found at a depth of just 5 kilometers below the earth’s surface.
The fault extends for 25 kilometers from north to south and borders the entire mountain range in front of the city. It can be seen as a steep step that rises above the Santiago Valley. The characteristics of the San Ramón fault make it capable of causing earthquakes of great magnitude.
What to do in the event of an earthquake?
The Chilean Ministry of the Interior and Public Security released a guide for safety measures during earthquakes. The following are tips that you should follow:
- Be aware of the safe areas in your home, school, or workplace.
- In the event of an earthquake, stay away from furniture, lamps, and windows that could break.
- Duck and cover. The most important thing is that you protect yourself.
- Stay inside your home. Take the stairs if you need to go outside.
- If you are on the street, stay away from buildings and power poles.
- Protect your head with your arms.
- If you are driving, stop the car in a safe place. Put on your hazard lights.
Other suggestions in case of an earthquake
Other suggestions are as follows:
- Do not walk barefoot. You could hurt yourself with a sharp object that has fallen to the ground.
- Use flashlights. Don’t light candles or use matches.
- If you are trapped, bang an object to signal your position. It is not advisable to yell. Cover your mouth and nose so that the dust does not affect you.
It is also important to have an emergency kit that contains the following: a list of emergency telephone numbers, first-aid items, portable radio with batteries, flashlight with batteries, and important documents, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, or deeds, as indicated by Mexico’s Civil Protection.
What things should NOT be done?
Elevators should not be used during an earthquake. Do not use matches or lighters. Use flashlights instead. Avoid running, yelling, or pushing others. Keep calm. Avoid staying near kitchens or places where there are power lines.
It is advisable to have the official social media accounts of the security organizations in your country so that you stay informed. This way, you’ll get information from the right sources and know what to do or where to go when an unexpected situation occurs.