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Terremoto in Manzanillo

1995 Earthquake -
Terremoto in Manzanillo

Felt in Mexico City and Dallas / Houston TX!

by Terry Sovil

June 15, 2019

On Monday, October 9, 1995 at 9:38AM a huge earthquake struck Cihuatlan-Manzanillo. It was an 8 on the moment magnitude scale or 7.6 on the Richter scale. It was on shore, at a depth of 40km / 25 miles, with a Mercalli intensity of "severe" (7), lasting about a minute. It was felt in Mexico City and in some high rise buildings in Dallas and Houston, Texas. The earthquake is notable for directing damage northwestward from the epicenter, up the Pacific coastline, while sparing the epicentral region and the area down the coastline.

The Mercalli intensity scale is a newer measurement from Italy for intensity of the quake. It is a scale of earthquake intensity ranging from I for an earthquake detected only by seismographs to XII for one causing total destruction of all buildings. The moment magnitude scale is one of many seismic magnitude scales used to measure the size of earthquakes. The scale was developed in the 1970s to succeed the 1930s-era Richter magnitude scale.

It was a shallow interplate thrust earthquake. An interplate earthquake occurs at the boundary between two tectonic plates. Interplate earthquakes associated at a subduction boundary are called megathrust earthquakes, the most powerful earthquakes.

In Mexico City it was reported that the 63-story glass and steel headquarters of Petroleos Mexicanos (PeMex), the state-owned oil monopoly, swayed terrifyingly by a yard or more. At least 49 people died and 100 were injured in the city of Manzanillo and about 10 in the affected area of Jalisco. Initially it was thought that as many as 57 died, but later the results were cut back.

Boreal Forest - North America's Bird Nursery
The The earthquake was in the area of the Rivera Plate beneath the North American Plate, caused by the movements between the North American Plate, the Rivera Plate and the Cocos Plate. Near the epicenter about 17,000 structures were damaged or collapsed affecting about 45,000 people. Most affected was the Cihuatlan area with 90% of the buildings damaged and 20% of them destroyed. Manzanillo, the bigger city, saw only about 5% of the structures damaged but enough to significantly affect the local economy.

Cocos Plalte Diagram

The aftershocks were in a rectangular region about 170 km by 70 km / 106 by 43 miles. The main shock area was about 24km south of Manzanillo and the aftershock area 20 km offshore of Manzanillo. The Jalisco State government reported that the hotel Costa Grande, a large tourist hotel in San Patricio Melaque had also collapsed. They reported 11 people dead but later revised the report to hotel damage with no loss of life.

Google Earth Quake Center
Earth Quake Epicenter - Google Maps

18 people died in the collapse of an eight story hotel, the Costa Real, a beach front hotel in Manzanillo. Some 50 people were inside and the navy and rescue crews searched with cranes. In newspaper reports a Michael Farley, an American who was on his yacht in the Manzanillo harbor, watched the Hotel Costa Real "crumble right before my eyes," he said. He was interviewed over short wave radio and telephone.

Farley said "Everybody was yelling and pointing at the hotel, it looked like one of those films on TV, where the guys come in with dynamite and destroy the building. We watched it collapse into a pile of dust."

Mr. Farley noted that water in the bay fell 10 feet / 3 meters during the quake and came screaming back in a huge wave.

Landslides blocked the highways between Melaque and Cihuatlan. Two bridges, spanning the Secco and Jualuco Rivers in Jalisco, collapsed, according to radio reports. Landslides blocked roads between Guadalajara and Manzanillo.

Probably one of the most visible earthquake examples is the old hospital that was declared unsafe and sits right next to the new Home Depot.

Old Hospital Post EarthquakeThe Old Hospital Post Earthquake

The tsunami (tidal wave) affected a 200 km / 124 miles stretch of coast. Most damage was in shallow shoreline areas. Flooding was in the Tenacatita Bay area. The wave had a maximum wave height of 5.1 meters / 16 1/2 feet. At least 2 waves were recorded and it was also observed in parts of Ecuador, French Polynesia, Samoan Islands, Australia and Hawaii. Local citizens described the waves that hit the coast. Their testimonies were collected and the extent of the run-up were documented. There was a field survey done by Ortiz in 1995 and some corrections were made to the data. The highest tsunami run-up was observed in Tenacatita Bay in the towns of La Manzanilla and Boca de Iguanas. The photo shows the flooding marks both inside and outside of the Temple of La Manzanilla.

Temple in La Manzanilla
The Temple in La Manzanillo showing water marks

Video just just over 2 minutes. YOUTUBE:
In Spanish, of the earthquake

And there are photos from CBS News: Click Here

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