7.4 magnitude quake off Guatemala-Mexico coast: USGS

Posted at 11/08/12 2:18 AM

GUATEMALA CITY - A strong 7.4 magnitude quake struck off the Pacific coast of Guatemala, Mexico and El Salvador on Wednesday, prompting panicked evacuations, but there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) said the quake struck at 1635 GMT at a depth of 41.6 kilometers (25.9 miles), some 24 kilometers (15 miles) south of Champerico, Guatemala and 163 kilometers (101 miles) west-southwest of Guatemala City.

The Mexican Seismological Service said seven aftershocks followed the quake, which it put at a magnitude of 7.3, some 68 kilometers southwest of Ciudad Hidalgo in the state of Chiapas.

The quake was strongly felt in Guatemala City and southwestern Mexico, and people streamed out of homes, schools and office buildings as far north as Mexico City.

"We just had an earthquake," Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard wrote on Twitter.

"It was intense in a good part of the city," he said, adding later that the quake did not cause any damage in the sprawling capital.

One Mexico City metro line was briefly suspended but Ebrard reported moments later that the system was back running normally.

The USGS had initially measured the quake at 7.5 magnitude.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no destructive widespread tsunami threat.

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