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SHAKE AND BLOW
Magnitude 7.5 quake strikes off Papua New Guinea: USGS
by Staff Writers
Sydney (AFP) April 19, 2014


Powerful quake rattles Mexico
Mexico City (AFP) April 18, 2014 - A powerful 7.2-magnitude earthquake rattled Mexico's capital and Pacific coast on Friday, shaking buildings, bringing down walls and prompting people to rush into the street.

The country, however, appeared to have escaped major damage and casualties.

The US Geological Survey said the earthquake's epicenter was 36 kilometers (22 miles) northwest of Tecpan, near the Pacific resort of Acapulco in southwestern Guerrero state.

The quake struck at a depth of 24 kilometers.

Mexico's National Seismology Service gave the same magnitude for the quake, saying it was followed by dozens of weaker aftershocks of up to magnitude 4.8.

Tourists in Acapulco for Holy Week streamed out of hotels. Buildings were also evacuated in Mexico City as helicopters buzzed overhead to check for damage.

The earthquake was also felt in the eastern state of Veracruz and the southern states of Oaxaca and Chiapas.

Angelica Lasso, a 30-year-old website designer, grabbed a jacket and ran out of the first floor of her three-story apartment building in Mexico City.

"The furniture moved and my CDs fell from the disc storage tower. I got out quickly and even forgot my house keys," Lasso said as she bought a sugary bread from a street vendor.

Authorities were working to restore electricity in several city neighborhoods.

"Fortunately, what we have are collapsed walls and no reports of deaths or injuries," said federal civil protection director general Ricardo de la Cruz.

Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said some walls collapsed and a few roads were damaged but nobody was injured.

The metropolis of 20 million people is sensitive to distant earthquakes because it was built over soft soil from a drained lake.

In 1985, thousands of people were killed in Mexico City when buildings collapsed after an 8.1-magnitude temblor struck the Pacific coast.

In Guerrero state, rocks fell on Pacific highways, while cracks were seen in churches and the offices of the region's capital, Chilpancingo.

In Acapulco, 105 kilometers south of Tecpan, holidaymakers fled hotels and jumped out of swimming pools.

"The swimming pool was moving. I was afraid for my kids, so I took them out and we left the hotel," said Ulises Yam Loye of central Hidalgo state.

"It scared us a lot to see the palm trees and lampposts moving."

A powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 7.5 struck off Papua New Guinea late Saturday, the US Geological Survey said.

A tsunami warning was issued for Papua and the Solomon Islands by the Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, but it later cancelled the alert.

The quake struck 75 kilometres (47 miles) southwest of the town of Panguna on Bougainville island at a depth of 30 kilometres just before 11:30 pm (1330 GMT), USGS said.

The seismologists said another 5.6-magnitude quake hit the same area around 20 minutes later at a depth of 69 kilometres.

6.6-quake hits off PNG's Bougainville: USGS
Sydney (AFP) April 19, 2014 - A strong 6.6-magnitude earthquake struck off Papua New Guinea's Bougainville Island Saturday but there was no risk of a widespread tsunami, seismologists said.

The quake, scaled back from an initial reported magnitude of 6.9, hit at 0104 GMT and was centred 59 kilometres (36 miles) southwest of the town of Panguna on Bougainville at a depth of 24 kilometres, the US Geological Survey said.

In its initial estimate the USGS said there was a low likelihood of casualties and damage.

According to the Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center there was no threat of a destructive widespread tsunami based on historical data.

Geoscience Australia measured the quake at magnitude 7.0 and said it was probably felt within a wide radius, with the potential for localised shaking damage.

"Because it's such a large event there's a possibility of damage in that area," seismologist Emma Mathews told AFP.

"But it's nothing out of the ordinary for such an earthquake-prone country."

Mathews said it was the latest in a recent cluster of earthquakes in the Panguna region, with five events recorded in the past week including powerful magnitude 7.6 and 7.5 tremors that triggered a local tsunami alert.

Those jolts were felt locally but there were no reports of significant damage from remote and isolated Bougainville, which sits between the island of New Guinea and the Solomons.

The rumblings sparked panic in the Solomons capital Honiara, reeling from floods earlier this month that claimed at least 21 lives.

"This is quite an active area, an active tectonic area that receives a high frequency of earthquake activity," Mathews said.

Quakes of such magnitude are common in PNG, which sits on the so-called Pacific "Ring of Fire", a hotspot for seismic activity due to friction between tectonic plates.

In October, a 7.1-magnitude quake struck in the same area -- around 65 kilometres west of Panguna.

Last year in February the remote town of Lata in the Solomons was hit by a devastating tsunami after an 8.0-magnitude earthquake. The tsunami left at least 10 people dead, destroyed hundreds of homes and left thousands of people homeless.

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SHAKE AND BLOW
Strong quake rattles Mexico
Mexico City (AFP) April 18, 2014
A powerful 7.0-magnitude earthquake rattled Mexico City on Friday, swaying buildings, shattering windows and prompting people to rush into the street as power went out, authorities said. The National Seismology Service said the quake's epicenter was 31 kilometers (19 miles) northwest of Tecpan, in the southwestern state of Guerrero, near the Pacific resort of Acapulco. The US Geological ... read more


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