Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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May 9, 2014

Strong earthquake shakes Mexico's Pacific coast

ACAPULCO, Mexico (AP) — A strong earthquake shook the southern Pacific coast of Mexico as well as the capital and several inland states Thursday, sending frightened people into unseasonal torrential rains that were also bearing down on the coast.

The 6.4-magnitude quake in southern Guerrero state was centered about 9 miles (15 kilometers) north of Tecpan de Galeana, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, and was felt about 171 miles (277 kilometers) miles away in Mexico City, where office workers streamed into the streets away from high-rise buildings.

There were no reports of injuries or major damage, though a section of highway collapsed in Tecpan, near the epicenter. The town shook ferociously, causing a "wave of panic" and some roofs to cave in, Mayor Crisoforo Otero Heredia said. But there were no injuries.

A wall collapsed in Chilpancingo, the capital of Guerrero state, but civil protection crews in Acapulco found no problems except scared citizens who were forced to take refuge in the heavy rain that was hitting the region.

In Mexico City, elegantly dressed businesswoman Carmen Lopez was leaving a downtown office building when the ground began to shake. She dashed across the street to a leafy median as light poles swayed violently above her.

"That was just too scary," Lopez said as she quickly started dialing her cellphone to alert friends and family.

Behind her, thousands of people poured from neighboring office buildings, following pre-planned evacuation routes to areas considered safe in case of falling glass.

The quake occurred at a depth of 15 miles (23 kilometers) and its epicenter was about 40 miles (66 kilometers) from a 7.2-magnitude quake on April 18 that shook central and southern Mexico.

The earlier quake occurred in a section of the Pacific Coast known as the Guerrero Seismic Gap, which is a 125-mile (200-kilometer) section where tectonic plates meet and have been locked, causing huge amounts of energy to be stored up with potentially devastating effects, the USGS said. It said a magnitude-7.6 temblor struck in the section in 1911.

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