Tuesday's earthquake in Mexico hit while people were taking part in a drill commemorating the 1985 quake, which killed thousands of people. This has left many wondering if there is a connection between both disasters.
According to Susan Beck, a geo-sciences professor at the University of Arizona, we should not read into the timing too much. There is no such thing as an earthquake season, she explained. The chances of a quake with this magnitude hitting on the anniversary of another deadly earthquake decades ago are extremely rare, she added.
The government has invested in technology allowing them to detect an earthquake and issue a warning 10 to 20 seconds before it hits. It is a system that is meant to not have people stop and think about what to do, but to stop trains, and equipment, and stop gas lines, "of course sirens go off and people know to duck and cover," Beck said.
According to Susan Beck, the quake shook the ground for about 500 seconds in Tucson. We did not feel it, but was certainly large enough to be recorded on the seismic station, Beck said.
Meanwhile, the Mexican Consulate in Tucson is responding to the quake. Officials there are working to assess the damage in Mexico City and surrounding areas. Phone lines and websites have been set up for people who need more information.
Here is the Consulate's statement:
At this time, federal and state officials are concentrating on rescue and civil protecting efforts. The most important tal is to attend to the injured and conduct a complete evaluation of damage to the buildings. Communications are often affected in these types of situations, and for that reason we ask for the patience of those seeking information on their family members in the region of Mexico affected by the earthquake.
As officials make progress in their emergency efforts, information will be provided by officials from the federal government, Mexico City and the other states affected.
At the Consulate, we are asking the Mexican community seeking information to contact the Center for Information and Assistance to Mexicans (CIAM) at 1-855-463-6395
For information on US citizens, the US govermment has the following resources: phone numbers: 202 501 4444 or 1 888 407 4747 (option 0) or the webpage: www.travel.state.gov