Strongest Earthquake in Last Century Shakes Mexico

On Thursday night, Mexico was hit was a massive earthquake. The quake was the strongest in over 100 years, shaking Mexico City buildings and killing dozens in the southern states of Oaxaca and Chiapas. The quake was felt as far away as Guatemala City.

The earthquake brought back memories for some of the 1985 quake that hit Mexico City where thousands lost their lives, though the earliest indications are that the toll from the quake on Thursday night, which struck off the southern coast, would not reach that scale.

Media in the country said the initial death toll had reached 32, but information about other deaths and damage continued to come in.

The quake’s epicenter was located offshore close to Chiapas and hit at 11.49 p.m. ET. Its magnitude was 8.2 according to both authorities in the U.S. and Mexico. That would make it larger than the 1984 quake that registered 8.0.

Reports of destruction in the southern states of Oaxaca and Chiapas, which are largely rural and poor, sped up pace during the morning hours. In Oaxaca, 20 people were reported killed and the largest oil refinery in the country was shuttered temporarily.

Several homes across the area collapsed and local media published images of buildings that collapsed.

Mexico President Enrique Pena Nieto announced that there were two fatalities in the state of Tabasco. The governor of Chiapas said the state’s hospital, bridges and roads had all been damaged and that four people were killed.

The mayor of Mexico city said the country’s capital withstood the quake but fewer cars were out and about during rush hour, but public transport was running normal.

Public schools were closed due to the president warning about possible strong aftershocks with magnitudes that could reach 7.0. A number of aftershocks were already reported.

The state run oil company Pemex shut down operations of its biggest refinery on the Pacific coast west of Chiapas in Salina Cruz.

The oil company said that the shutdown was just temporary and that the facility was beginning a restarting mode soon. Mexico’s Natural Gas Association announced that the industry’s infrastructure was completely operational.

The peso was down after the quake was first reported and was off by 0.4% against the U.S. dollar at 12:00 p.m. in New York.

Large companies with operations in Mexico such as Coca Cola reported that operations were in good standing and that no structural damages had been discovered.