The earthquake, measured at a magnitude of 7.6, stuck on exactly the same day that two previous earthquakes caused enormous damage and killed hundreds or thousands of people in 1985 and 2017.
Yet as of Monday evening, the tremor appeared to have passed without that level of tragedy, despite heightened nerves from a nationwide annual earthquake drill that occurred less than an hour beforehand.
Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador said that one person died in the western state of Colima due to a falling fence at a shopping centre.
US and Mexican authorities issued a tsunami alert, while videos showed rattling rooms, wildly swinging light fixtures, and wobbling pickup trucks throughout western Mexico.
One dead in major earthquake off the coast of Michoacán state
How powerful is 7.6 earthquake ?
Videos show quake rattling rooms and pickup trucks
ICYMI: Videos show shaking and destruction in western Mexico
08:14 , Io Dodds
Videos on social media showed Monday’s earthquake rocking trucks back and forth, shaking hotel rooms, and scattering ceiling tiles across the floor in office buildings, my colleague Graig Graziosi reports.
Read his full story to get a sense of how the quake affected everyday Mexicans.
Twenty hospitals damaged in Michoacán
07:03 , Io Dodds
At least 20 hospitals in the state of Michoacán have suffered structural damage from the earthquake, local authorities say.
According to Mexico AS, the state health ministry reported that medical facilities in Uruapan, Apatzingán, Pátzcuaro, and many other towns had been hit by the tremor, along with churches and a technical college in Coalcomán.
A video posted on Twitter showed products strewn across the floor in aisle after aisle of a Michoacán supermarket. Neighbouring Jalisco state also reported damage to religious buildings.
— Jorge Macias R. (@JayJomer) September 19, 2022
Death toll rises to two
07:02 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar
Two people were killed in the Pacific port of Manzanillo in the aftermath of the powerful earthquake that jolted Mexico yesterday, authorities said.
One of the victims died after being crushed by the facade of a department store while another was found dead at a mall.
Videos on social media showed the roof of the mall collapsed into the top floor, a gym, as people yelled for help.
Church in Michoacán damaged in powerful quake
06:40 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar
The church of San Miguel Arcángel in Michoacán was damaged after a powerful earthquake struck Mexico on Monday.
A video captured by locals showed debris falling out of a hole from the church building that was caused by the jolt. Cracks were also spotted on one of the bell towers of the church.
Another eerie coincidence
06:00 , Io Dodds
This earthquake happened less than an hour after Mexico's annual nationwide earthquake drill, which was introduced in 1985 after the devastating quake in Mexico City.
Across the country, about 14,000 loudspeakers issued a fake warning in order to test people's responses, with millions of civilians evacuating their homes, schools, and workplaces.
Earthquake affects power supply to 1.2 million users
05:43 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar
Nearly 1.2 million users were left without electricity after the powerful 7.6 magnitude earthquake struck Mexico on Monday.
According to the federal electricity commission, until 3.30pm local time the reinstallation of power supply was achieved for 68 per cent of the affected users.
Video shows hotel room ceiling fan shaking during earthquake
05:14 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar
A video shared on Twitter showed a ceiling fan violently shaking in a hotel room in Puerto Vallarta when the 7.6 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Michoacán state in Mexico.
According to local reports, several hotels in the resort town suffered damage, with cracks emerging on ceilings and windows.
— Jon (DLC Included) (@itspapajon) September 19, 2022
Tsunami threat has 'passed', say authorities
04:51 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar
The tsunami warning which was issued immediately after the earthquake off the coast of Michoacán state has been revised.
According to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre, the tsunami threat has “largely passed”.
Earlier, waves reaching up to 3 metres were earlier predicted to hit Mexico and along the coast of Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador and Guatemala among other countries, but recent readings have shown a relative decrease in wave heights.
“Minor sea level fluctuations of up to 0.3 metres above and below the normal tide may continue over the next few hours,” it said.
Nothing special about 19 September, say experts
04:49 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar
The fact that three different earthquakes have all hit Mexico on 19 September is nothing more than random chance, according seismologists.
"This is a coincidence," Paul Earle of the US Geological Survey (USGS) told The Associated Press. "There's no physical reason or statistical bias toward earthquakes in any given month in Mexico...
"We knew we'd get this question as soon as it happened. Sometimes there are just coincidences."
José Luis Mateos, a physicist at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), told AS Mexico that the probability of three quakes happening on the same day in the same nation is 1 in 133,225.
On a global scale, the USGS says there is no particular season for earthquakes and no such thing as "earthquake weather", although one study did find an association between earthquakes and monsoon season in Taiwan specifically.
Landslides, power cuts, and 'nervous breakdowns'
03:32 , Io Dodds
We're now seeing more detailed reports of how the earthquake impacted various regions of Mexico.
The country’s National Seismological Service said there had been 314 aftershocks as of late afternoon, the largest of which was a 5.3 magnitude tremor with its epicentre in Colima.
In that state, doctors and nurses took their patients out into the streets on stretchers in case their hospitals became unsafe, while drivers reported landslides on highways that impeded traffic.
— Bersaín Hernández (@Bersa76) September 19, 2022
Authorities in Mexico City said they had received more than 102 emergency calls, many of which involved "nervous breakdowns". Others were related to the power outages that affected several states.
A bridge in Mexico state showed cracks and had to be closed. The Chamber of Deputies suspended all sessions, as did the Mexico City court system.
🚨 Así el puente que conecta Bosque Real con Magnocentro a la altura de Palma de Criolla, en #Huixquilucan Edomex, tras el sismo magnitud 7.4 de hoy 13:05 hrs
Ya fue cerrado a la circulación pic.twitter.com/yA21Z6NkGU
— Manuel Lopez San Martin (@MLopezSanMartin) September 19, 2022
‘The roof boomed and fell to the ground'
02:35 , Io Dodds
A resident of Michoacán state has described the impact of the earthquake on areas close to its epicentre.
Carla Cárdenas, from the town of Coalcomán, told The Associated Press that she had run out of her family's hotel when the rumbling began and waited in the street with their neighbours.
"In the hotel, the roof of the parking area boomed and fell to the ground, and there are cracks in the walls on the second floor," she said.
She added that the damage to her town's hospital was more serious, but that she had not yet heard of anyone being injured.
‘Tsunami threat has now passed'
01:23 , Io Dodds
Authorities in the state of Colima have said that there is no longer any tsunami warning in force.
"The tsunami alert for the coasts of [Colima] is ruled out at this time, although variations in the waves are expected, We reiterate to avoid approaching the beaches," said the state's Civil Protection agency.
The US National Weather Service (NWS) concurred, saying in a bulletin: "Based on all available data, the tsunami threat has now passed."
It listed various measurements of high waves from sea level gauges off the Mexican coast, none of which showed a maximum tsunami height of more than a meter above normal tide levels.
"This will be the final statement issued for this event unless new information is received or the situation changes," the NWS concluded.
Three Mexican earthquakes on the same day
Tuesday 20 September 2022 00:10 , Io Dodds
Strange as it seems, this is the third earthquake to strike Mexico on 19 September, though so far it appears to be far less damaging than its forebears in 1985 and 2017.
The quake of 1985 was catastrophic, killing at least 5,000 people with some estimates ranging into the low tens of thousands, while the quake of 2017 killed 370 people.
The inauspicious date may have influenced some of the initial panic that followed today’s quake in built-up areas such as Mexico City. The quake alert also came less than an hour after a nationwide simulation.
“There’s something about the 19th,” Ernesto Lanzetta, a business owner in Mexico City told The Associated Press. “The 19th is a day to be feared.”
Video shows shaking hotel room in Puerto Vallarta
Monday 19 September 2022 23:00 , Io Dodds
The American TV network WeatherNation has released a video showing the impact of the quake on a hotel room in Puerto Vallarta, a beach resort city on Mexico’s west coast.
“Oh, s***!” says one of the people behind the camera as lighting fixtures, cupboard doors, and furniture swing and shake intensely. “Oh my God, everything’s really flying around.”
— WeatherNation (@WeatherNation) September 19, 2022
No major incidents reported, says Mexico City mayor
Monday 19 September 2022 22:25 , Io Dodds
Despite the palpable shaking, so far there are no reports of major damage in Mexico.
Claudia Sheinbaum, the mayor of Mexico City, said on Twitter on Monday afternoon that there was “no record of incidents in the city”.
Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador confirmed that “in Mexico City there is no serious damage”.
Pasando lista del reporte en cada alcaldía, en cada una de las demarcaciones tenemos un representante de la Jefa de Gobierno.
Me reportan que no hay registro de incidentes en la Ciudad. pic.twitter.com/3C1D3SBDN6
— Dra. Claudia Sheinbaum (@Claudiashein) September 19, 2022
Hablé con Claudia Sheinbaum, jefa de Gobierno, y en la Ciudad de México no hay daños graves. pic.twitter.com/izq458TU1Z
— Andrés Manuel (@lopezobrador_) September 19, 2022
According to local news broadcasters, firefighters closed some buildings in the city in case the collapsed, but residents experienced only “light to moderate shaking”.
Mexico City is about 310 miles away from the epicentre of the earthquake, which happened in a fairly thinly-populated part of Michoacán state.
However, the quake did leave some parts of the central Roma area of the capital without power, according to Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia. Locals stood in the street with their pets in their arms, while tourists were visibly disconcerted.
Videos show quake rattling rooms and pickup trucks
Monday 19 September 2022 21:51 , Io Dodds
Videos have emerged showing scenes of rattling rooms and teetering pickup trucks across western Mexico, my colleague Graig Graziosi reports.
In a video shared by Diario de Morelos, a publication covering the region near the earthquake’s epicentre, a pair of trucks can be seen shaking violently as seismic activity rocks the region.
— Diario de Morelos (@DiariodeMorelos) September 19, 2022
John-Carlos Estrada, a journalist at CBS Austin, shared several videos of the quake from people on the ground in Mexico. In one video street signs in Mexico City can seen swaying due to the earthquake.
Tsunami waves registered at three sea gauges
Monday 19 September 2022 21:36 , Io Dodds
The US National Weather Service now says three sets of tsunami waves have been measured, at sea level gauges off the coast of Manzanillo, Zihuatanejo, and Acapulco.
So far, these waves aren’t as big as feared: the NWS says their “maximum tsunami height” was 0.8m, 0.5m, and 0.1m respectively.
One person killed in Colima
Monday 19 September 2022 21:14 , Io Dodds
Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador has said that at least one person has been killed by the earthquake.
Mr Obrador said on Twitter on Monday afternoon that he had been informed by his secretary of the Navy that a person died in Manzanillo in Colima state due to a falling fence in a shopping centre.
He said he is still waiting to hear back from the governor of Colima about some regions of the state becaus communications were interrupted by the quake.
Me informó el almirante José Rafael Ojeda Durán, secretario de Marina, que una persona falleció por la caída de una barda de un centro comercial en Manzanillo, Colima. pic.twitter.com/CmOsWjei0j
— Andrés Manuel (@lopezobrador_) September 19, 2022
How powerful is a magnitude 7.6 earthquake?
Monday 19 September 2022 20:59 , Io Dodds
An earthquake with a magnitude of between 7 and 8 is more powerful than most, with about 10-20 happening every year according to the US Geological Survey.
The most powerful earthquake ever recorded was the Great Chilean Earthquake in 1960, which is estimated to have been between 9.4 and 9.6 and to have killed thousands of people.
Today’s quake was more powerful than the one that devastated Mexico in 2017 (magnitude 7.3), killing 370 people, and is almost as powerful as the 1985 Mexico City earthquake (magnitude 8), which killed at least 5,000 people and probably more. Oddly, all three quakes occurred on the same day.
But that doesn’t mean this earthquake will be that bad. The actual impact of an earthquake is influenced by many factors, including the location of the epicentre, the depth of the shock, and the geology of affected areas.
No tsunami threat to Hawaii and other countries
Monday 19 September 2022 20:36 , Io Dodds
Here’s the NWS’s latest bulletin, issued about half an hour ago.
“An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.6 occurred near the coast of Michoacán, Mexico at 1805 UTC on Monday 19 September 2022,” the notice said.
“Tsunami waves have been observed. Based on all available data, hazardous tsunami waves are forecast for some coasts.”
It specifically says Mexico may get waves of up to 3 meters above normal tide levels, but other countries and islands such as Hawaii were not likely to be significantly affected.
In a separate bulletin, the NWS added: “Based on all available data, a destructive Pacific-wide tsunami is not expected and there is no tsunami threat to Hawaii.”
NWS says tsunami waves have been observed
Monday 19 September 2022 20:30 , Io Dodds
Good afternoon. An powerful earthquake has shaken buildings across Mexico, exactly five years to the day since another quake of similar magnitude killed 370 people.
The US National Weather Service (NWS) said that tsunami waves had been observed, and could reach up to three meters along the western coast of Mexico.