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Earthquake felt across southern Mexico; 1 person dead

June 30, 2010 |  9:30 am

Tourists paseo de la reforma

A strong earthquake shook southern Mexico early Wednesday morning, reportedly killing one person in Oaxaca and being felt as far away as Mexico City and the states of Veracruz, Puebla, and Guerrero. The quake struck at 2:22 a.m. with an epicenter in rural southwestern Oaxaca near the Pacific Ocean. It lasted half a minute and was strong enough to shake buildings in Mexico City, sending frightened people onto the street despite the hour.

The only death reported as of Thursday morning was in Oaxaca near the epicenter, where a man was killed when a beam fell (link in Spanish).

Mexican and U.S. seismological services initially measured the tremor at magnitude 6.5, but later the U.S. Geological Survey downgraded it to 6.2. It was the most significant quake in the country since the magnitude-7.2 earthquake that hit on Easter Sunday along the U.S.-Mexico border area near the city of Mexicali, killing 2 people.

In Mexico City, Mayor Marcelo Ebrard reported the quake on Twitter shortly after it struck. Authorities sent ambulances to patrol streets and police helicopters to scan for damage. Electricity and water connections were affected in at least three boroughs. Some buildings, including a 10-story police tower, suffered visible exterior cracks, reports said.

An hour later, the mayor tweeted that the quake caused no major damage and that the metro system was also unharmed: "Rest, if only for a little while."

-- Daniel Hernandez in Mexico City

Photo: Guests outside a hotel on Paseo de la Reforma in Mexico City after the 2:22 a.m. quake on Wednesday. Credit: El Universal

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