Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Mexico Earthquake Maps


Yesterday a 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck central Mexico. At the time of writing there have been 216 confirmed deaths from the quake.

The U.S. Geological Survey's interactive map locates the epicenter of the quake near the town of Raboso in Puebla, 76 miles southeast of Mexico City. The USGS's Latest Earthquakes Map includes options to view earthquake activity over the last 24 hours, the last week or the last month. The map also shows plate boundaries. Mapbox's Live Earthquake Tracker is also a nicely designed map of the same USGS data, allowing you to view the location and the size of the most recent seismic activity around the world on a global map.


The New York Times has created a seismic activity map which shows that although Mexico City is 76 miles from the epicenter of yesterday's quake it still experienced intense seismic activity. Mexico City is built on an ancient lake bed. The soft soil under Mexico City is known to be prone to seismic activity. When earthquake waves pass through the soil it vibrates and magnifies the waves.

The result of seismic activity can therefore be catastrophic for Mexico City's buildings. The NYT article includes a map of buildings that have collapsed in the city and lots of photos of the devastation caused. Yesterday's quake occurred on the anniversary of the horrific 1985 earthquake which damaged around 3,000 buildings in the city. It appears yesterday's earthquake has not caused that scale of damage to the city's buildings. After the 1985 quake Mexico City introduced more stringent building codes. Those codes probably saved a lot of lives yesterday.

A Google Map, Edificios Colapsados Sismo 2017 19 Sep, is also documenting the location of collapsed buildings in Mexico City. Buildings on this map are being categorized by the degree of damage caused by the quake.
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