Colorado expert has insight on deadly central Mexico earthquake

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A man stands next to a car crashed by debris from a damaged building after a quake rattled Mexico City on September 19, 2017.
A powerful earthquake shook Mexico City on Tuesday, causing panic among the megalopolis’ 20 million inhabitants on the 32nd anniversary of a devastating 1985 quake. The US Geological Survey put the quake’s magnitude at 7.1 while Mexico’s Seismological Institute said it measured 6.8 on its scale. The institute said the quake’s epicenter was seven kilometers west of Chiautla de Tapia, in the neighboring state of Puebla.
/ AFP PHOTO / Alfredo ESTRELLA (Photo credit should read ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images)

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DENVER -- Chaos and devastation in Mexico Tuesday when an earthquake rattled the country for the second time this month.

Buildings fell in heavily populated areas, floors pancaking on top of each other when the 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit about 75 miles from Mexico City.

“It releases more energy than a hydrogen bomb,” Dr. Rick Aster, Geophysics professor at Colorado State University said. “That shaking is strong enough in some cases to knock you off your feet or take down your building.”

Dr. Aster says Mexico is prone to this kind of natural disaster. Exactly 32 years ago, the country was hit with the historic 1985 earthquake, a magnitude 8.0.

“There were drills Tuesday in commemoration since it was 32 years to the day,” Dr. Aster said.

Is there a coincidence in the dates? Dr. Aster says probably not. Historically, earthquakes are harder to predict.

Dr. Aster says technology has come a long way though. There are now ways to earn people seconds before the tragedy hits. Still not enough time to clear everyone from the dangers.

“It’s an absolutely terrifying thing,” Dr. Aster said.​

Colorado isn't immune to earthquakes. There are some tiny faults in our state. Dr. Aster says Tuesday's disaster should serve as a wake up call for everybody to always be ready.

In Mexico, damage costs could reach nearly a billion dollars. The death was reported at 149 late Tuesday night. It was certain to rise higher.

 

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