Strong Earthquake Shakes Mexico

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A strong earthquake hit off the coast of southern Mexico, near the border with Guatemala, the US Geological Survey reported Friday.

The quake, which was felt as far as Mexico City and Guatemala City, had a preliminary magnitude of 8.0 and depth of 33 kilometers (20 miles), according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. It was a particularly shallow quake, according to Jana Pursely, a geophysicists at the USGS.

It struck off the Pacific Coast 74 miles (120 kilometers) southwest of Tres Picos, Mexico, which is 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City.

“The shaking along the coast of Chiapas at this point is estimated to be very strong to severe,” Pursely told CNN. “I would expect damage along the coast of Chiapas.”

Pursely said these types of shallow earthquakes with long shaking have the potential to be very dangerous. She also said there will likely be aftershocks.

On his verified twitter account, Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto tweeted, “Civil protection protocols are activated, including the National Emergency Committee.”

A Tsunami threat is being evaluated by the Tsunami Warning System. The Tsunami Warning Center advised the public that tsunami waves could hit within three hours off the coasts of Mexico, Guatemala, Panama, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras and even Ecuador.

CNN attempted to contact two seaside hotels in the Mexican state of Chiapas, next to the border with Guatemala, but the lines appeared to be down.

A receptionist at the Intercontinental in Mexico City said he only felt light shaking, however parts of the city are without power, Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said in an interview on Foro TV.