Because of multiple breaks in the fault line, the event was of long duration. Students at the Universidad de las Américas in nearby Puebla reported feeling as if the cafeteria had been lifted and rocked back and forth, shattering windows and injuring some people but mostly causing panic. One of the worst natural disasters in the Americas occurred 23 years ago today, when at 7:19 am local time an earthquake of magnitude 8.1 struck in the subduction zone off the west coast of Mexico. The building was occupied by family courts and offices of the public defender. [4][17] The event was one of the most intense ever recorded, and macroseismic waves arrived in the Valley of Mexico with unusually high energy content. [4][7][8] Mexico City's downtown area mostly lies on the silt and volcanic clay sediments of the bed of the historic Lake Texcoco, which are between seven and thirty-seven meters deep and have a high water content. [19], Although much closer to the epicenter, the states of Jalisco, Colima, Guerrero and Michoacán suffered only mild to moderate damage. They are now expertly trained and even have scent dogs to help them. Mexico [44] There are several instances of tall buildings in Mexico City incorporating earthquake-resistant engineering. On 11 October 1985, the President granted a seven-minute audience to the heads of a dozen popular movements, which turned into a 45-minute meeting where de la Madrid was handed a document outlining what would remain the movements' core demands: expropriation of all condemned buildings, followed by a "popular" and "democratic" reconstruction project which would include the active participation of the community movement. [5], In the hours and days immediately after the first shock, there was an enormous response and solidarity among the city population of 18 million people. [4] The fall left a huge piece of concrete blocking the road that leads to the Zócalo. [20], On the other hand, the disaster created an opportunity for political opponents, especially at the grassroots level. Three years ago on September 19th, 2015, I wrote the article below to commemorate the 30th year anniversary of the 1985 Mexico City 8.1 magnitude earthquake. Eighty percent of the earthquake damage was confined to four of them: Venustiano Carranza, Cuauhtémoc, Benito Juárez and Gustavo A. [5], The National Medical Center of the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) was considered the most important hospital complex in Latin America with over 2,300 beds and the largest medical library in the country. [21], Heavy machinery was unable to get to the site until five days after the earthquake. The first of these occurred on 20 September with a magnitude of 7.5 and the second occurred seven months later on 30 April 1986 with a magnitude of 7.0. The majority who were rescued were found in the first five days. The effects of the quake were particularly devastating because of the type of ground upon which the city sits. To answer this question, we have to go back in history almost 700 years. During the last century, the lake was completely drained, to make room for the housing needs of the ever-growing population of Mexico City. The lessons learned from the Mexico Earthquake through the site investigation, are summarized as follows. The number of people with potable water went from six million to 90,000. Structures built between 1976 and 1985 suffered the least damage. Five people were reported killed, many were injured, and extensive damage occurred in the vicinity of Norcia.  |  It was also widely reported in the days after the earthquake that the military assisted factory owners in retrieving their machinery rather than in removing the bodies of dead factory workers. [4], Another factor is that the old lakebed resonates with certain seismic waves and low frequency signals. The deal generally worked; movements like CUD moderated their stances and agencies like SEDUE and PRHP made progress in rebuilding housing, regardless of political affiliation. Landslides caused damage at Atenquique, Jalisco, and near Jala, Nayarit. Poorly founded multistory buildings lost their footing and collapsed. Many of the older colonial buildings have survived hundreds of years on the lakebed simply because they are not tall enough to be affected by the resonance effect. [32] During these rescue efforts, a nearby building, called Oaxaca, began to creak noisily, causing everyone to run and abandon the site temporarily, but it did not collapse. [4] One exceptional case was in Ciudad Guzmán, Jalisco, where about 60 percent of the buildings were destroyed,[4] with about 50 dead. [36] Reconstruction of the studio building began in 1995 and ended in 2000. [12] Some damage also occurred as far away as the states of Mexico, Morelos and parts of Veracruz, on the Gulf coast. Finally Carrillo Arena was fired from SEDUE and replaced by Manuel Camacho Solís. This causes these buildings to shake more violently than the earthquake proper as the earthquake progresses. As a consequence, the opposition movements pointed to the government's shortcomings and advanced candidates for the greater goal of defeating the PRI. The number of jobs lost due to the event was estimated at 200,000. The 19 September 1985 Mexico City earthquake killed at least 9,000 people and injured 30,000. The 2,158 beds of the Ministry of Health (SSA) were lost, representing 43 percent of its capacity in the city. One interesting characteristic was that many buildings had their upper floors collapse, leaving the lower floors relatively undamaged. [25] About 150 bodies of workers had already been pulled from the wreckage by fellow employees using their bare hands. Carrillo Arena at first insisted that the movements incorporate themselves into the PRI before gaining any concessions. [12] The government itself realized that it could not handle the crisis alone through already-established institutions and decided to open the process up to "opposition groups". 516,000 m2 (5,550,000 sq ft) of asphalt was damaged, and 137 schools collapsed. First Lady Nancy Reagan toured Mexico City with U.S. [40], The stepping-in of non-PRI organizations to take over where the government could not, also took its toll on PRI's reputation. Taller buildings have their own frequencies of vibration. Together, these apartment complexes were a large percentage of the 30,000 units lost, with the city losing about 30% of its living space. When the buildings were built seemed to have an effect as well. In the days after the quake, military and police cordoned off ten buildings to keep people out, leading a number of them to sleep on the streets. La Villita, and Infiernillo Dams, near the coast, were superficially damaged and undamaged respectively. [11] However, this particular section of the subduction zone had not had an event for a much longer time. The crisis was severe enough to have tested the capabilities of wealthier countries, but the government from local PRI bosses to President de la Madrid himself exacerbated the problem aside from the lack of money. Most bodies were identified by personal effects, some by dental records and some were so mangled that they wound up being cremated without ever being identified, due to the lack of morgue facilities. This caused people to get out of the tunnels from wherever they were and onto the street to try to get where they were going. [38], To this day, the death toll has been in dispute. The damage was concentrated in a 25 km2 area of Mexico City, 350 km from the epicenter. Official figures for the number of fatalities vary between 9,500 and 35,000. The buildings most damaged were from 6 to 15 stories in height. [21], However, the most memorable story to come from this event was the rescue of nearly all the newborn babies that were in the nursery at the time. Everyone ran from the studio but Llamas and Guerrero stayed, hiding under their anchor desks. [4] However, at least twelve other minor aftershocks were associated with the seismic event. He offered a commitment to build 48,000 housing units in one year if the groups would all sign a "Convenio de concertación democrática para la reconstrucción de vivienda" (Democratic agreement for the reconstruction of housing). Though the epicenter for the 1985 earthquake was over 200 miles away from Mexico City, the disaster nearly flattened the capital. The main reason for this is the surface geology of the area, especially the downtown area. The building that collapsed, as well as many others, were found to be decrepit. The old lakebed, with its high water content, is easily moved or compressed. Considerable damage and injuries were reported in other parts of the Umbria region. [19], Patients had to be moved from damaged hospitals, especially the National Medical Center. On 19 September 2017, 32 years after the 1985 earthquake, Mexico City also faced another earthquake at around 13:14 CDT (18:14 UTC), nearly two hours after the earthquake drills took place. This is an intertidal zone and the event caused widespread mortality in a number of species living in the area such as algae and shellfish. Less than 15 minutes after the quake, thousands of people in the capital lay dead and the Mexican economy was shattered for years to come. 1985 Mexico City earthquake was a Geography and places good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. Most of the earthquake damage was to buildings. [4], Shockwaves from the earthquake hit the mouth of the Río Balsas on the coast at 7:17 am and hit Mexico City, 350 km (220 mi) away, two minutes later at 7:19 am. About 5,000 bodies were recovered from the debris and represent the total of legally certified deaths but does not include those who were missing and never recovered. Numbers of dead did not include unidentified body parts found. [4] In many damaged buildings, just one floor had collapsed. [17], Several notable buildings were relatively untouched by the quake. People at the scene stated that there was simply no time to run and escape the building's fall. Such site amplification and liquefaction occurred, when the waves of the distant earthquake shook the bed of former Lake Texcoco under Mexico City. Most of the destroyed structures were between 8 and 18 stories high. [34], These earthquakes created many political difficulties for the then-ruling Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) or Institutional Revolutionary Party. Most people died in Mexico City, where 412 multistory buildings collapsed completely and another 3,124 were seriously damaged, including 13 hospitals. Part of the building was only slightly damaged, while another part of it collapsed. This is the same "pitch" as a number of shallow earthquake waves. [42], One preparation that was made for any future events was the alert system, Sistema de Alerta Sísmica (SAS), which sends early-warning messages electronically from sensors along the coastal subduction zone in Guerrero. (The earthquake of 19-Sep-1985). [46][47], Despite warnings and predictions, in 2005, an estimated 32 million people live in the high-risk lakebed area. In som… [31], There were two apartment complexes in the area of the city called Tlatelolco to the north of the historic center that became major scenes of disaster, the Conjunto Urbano Nonoalco Tlatelolco and the "Multifamiliares Juárez" near the Metro Centro Médico. [40] At many levels of the government, who was helped and by how much was determined by one's standing vis-à-vis the PRI. Basically, this document required the cooperation of community groups in exchange for solid commitments from the agency. A 20-story tower, Tower Four, doubled over at the third floor and fell south onto a fourteen-story building. This was known to be one of the most violent earthquakes in the area. [9], Mexico City is divided into boroughs. It originally was called San Pablo Hospital but its name was changed to Juárez Hospital in 1872. [34] At the time, the Metro had 101 stations, with 32 closed to the public in the weeks after the event. Mexico City itself lies on lake-sediments. The earthquake did produce a number of tsunamis but they were small, ranging between one and three metres (3 ft 3 in and 9 ft 10 in) in height. [23], The military was deployed to patrol streets to prevent looting after a curfew was imposed,[39] as well as rescue, sanitary efforts and other, with 1,836 soldiers initially sent in and another 1,500 conscripts sent later. More than 900 patients, physicians, nurses and paramedical workers died in the initial shock. [33], All the buildings suffered damage but along with the collapsed Nuevo León building, buildings such as those called Veracruz, Coahuila, Zacatecas, Oaxaca, Puebla, Jalisco, Churubusco, Guelatao, 2 de Abril, 15 de Septiembre, Chihuahua, Tamaulipas, ISSSTE 11, Querétaro, Guanajuato, Ignacio Comonfort, Ignacio M. Altamirano, Jesús Terán, Ponciano Arriaga, Niños Héroes and 20 de Noviembre suffered severe damage such as deeply cracked foundations. Burton Kirkwood stated, "Out of the disaster emerged the realization that a viable civil society existed in Mexico. On September 19, 1985, at 7:18 in the morning, the residents of Mexico City were jolted awake by an 8.1-magnitude earthquake, one of the strongest to ever hit the area. On Sept. 19, 1985, an earthquake struck Mexico City — and it was a big one, rating at 8.1 magnitude. Rockslides were reported along highways near Ixtapa, Guerrero, with sand volcanos and ground cracks in Lazaro Cardenas. [4] The buildings most damaged were from 6 to 15 stories in height. Most of the damage occurred in secondary and tertiary hospitals. The old lava flows have little water content or movement in comparison and are therefore more stable. Much of Mexico's volcanic and seismic activity stems from the movement of the North American plate against the Cocos and Pacific plates and it is one of the most active trenches in the world. Damage to structures is worsened by soil liquefaction which causes the loss of foundation support and contributes to dramatic settlement of large buildings. Most of the injured had contusion injuries and many suffered from dehydration, with the severity of the dehydration increasing with those rescued later. [23], The main reason that the figures have been disputed is the government's response to the tragedy. Most of the seriously damaged buildings were built between 1957 and 1976, when the city was starting to build upwards, in the six-to-fifteen floor range. [21], The "Torre de Hospitalización" was built in 1970 with the main building being twelve stories tall. Every 19 September, in all public buildings at Mexico City and all the nation the civil protection authorities conduct evacuation drills to evaluate the evacuation response in the case of an earthquake. This structure failed, causing the near total collapse of long distance communications between Mexico City and the rest of the world. The 1985 Mexico City Earthquake On the morning of September 19, 1985, an 8.1-magnitude earthquake hit the western states of Mexico and including Mexico City. (1) Tremendous damage in Mexico City at 400 km distance from the epicenter, was triggered by the amplifications of the ground motions through the soft lacustrine clay deposit which is surrounded by hard volcanic rock formations. 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