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217 Killed As 7.1 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Mexico

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| September 20 , 2017 , 15:15 IST

A total of 217 people have been killed after a 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit central Mexico on Tuesday, resulting in buildings collapsing and thousands fleeing into the streets in panic. The death toll was officially confirmed by the Mexico Civil Defence Chief, lowering the toll from the earlier reported 224.

The Tuesday earthquake comes barely 2 weeks after another earthquake in south Mexico killed 90 people.

Ironically, the earthquake came as Mexicans commemorated the anniversary of another earthquake in 1985 that had killed thousands. Rescue operations were launched soon after as the rescuers rushed to the site of the damaged and collapsed buildings.

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The massive earthquake caused buildings in Mexico city to sway, leading to people throughout the city fleeing from their homes and offices. People remained in the streets for hours after the earthquake.

According to the US Geological Survey, the 7.1 magnitude earthquake was centered in the town of Raboso in Puebla state, 123km southeast of the capital Mexico City.

Since a large portion of Mexico City is built on a former lakebed, the soil often amplifies the impact of earthquakes even centered hundreds of miles away. The international airport of Mexico city suspended operations in view of the earthquake.

Experts ruled out any connection between the latest earthquake and the September 7 earthquake of 8.1 magnitude that hit Mexico's southern coast, with impacts felt in the capital as well.

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US Geological Survey seismologist Paul Earle said that since the epicentres of the two quakes are 650 kilometres apart, it's unlikely the earthquakes are connected as most aftershocks are felt within 100 km of the first earthquake.

Earle noted that in the past century, there have been 19 earthquakes of magnitude 6.5 or greater within a 250km radius of Tuesday's earthquake.

The US Geological Survey predicts ``significant casualty and damage are likely and the disaster is potentially widespread.''