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Strong Mexico earthquake sends people fleeing into streets

March 20, 2012 | 12:07 pm

Quake
REPORTING FROM MEXICO CITY -- A powerful and prolonged earthquake rocked Mexico and parts of Central America on Tuesday, knocking out electricity and phone service in this sprawling capital and sending tens of thousands of people into the streets in search of safety.

There were no immediate reports of serious damage in Mexico City. Mayor Marcelo Ebrard surveyed the city by helicopter and said he saw no destruction. Some damage was reported in the southern state of Oaxaca.

The U.S. Geological Service measured the quake at a magnitude 7.6 with the epicenter in southern Guerrero state, near the border with Oaxaca state, a sparsely populated area about 115 miles from the tourist resort of Acapulco and 100 miles from Oaxaca City. The service said the quake was about 11 miles deep.

PHOTOS: Earthquake hits Mexico

Gabino Cue, the governor of Oaxaca, reported cracks and broken windows in several schools and minor damage to a number of Oaxaca City's iconic monuments. He said signposts had fallen in the city as well.

The quake hit at 12:02 local time. In Mexico City, there was an initial rocking, a pause and then a much stronger, sustained rocking motion that swayed buildings in many parts of the capital.

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Photo: People run to safety on the streets of Mexico City after a strong quake hit Mexico on Tuesday. Credit: Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images

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