1902 Guatemala earthquake

Last updated
1902 Guatemala earthquake
Relief map of Central America.jpg
Green pog.svg
Guatemala City
UTC  time1902-04-19 02:23:00
ISC  event 16957763
Local dateApril 18, 1902 (1902-04-19)
Local time8:23 p.m. [1]
Duration1–2 min [2]
Magnitude7.5 Mw [3]
Depth25 km (16 mi) [3]
Epicenter 14°N91°W / 14°N 91°W / 14; -91 [3]
Areas affected Guatemala
Max. intensity VIII (Severe) [3]
Casualties800–2,000 [1] [3]

The 1902 Guatemala earthquake occurred on April 18 at 8:23 pm with a moment magnitude of 7.5 and a maximum Mercalli intensity of VIII (Severe). The rupture initiated at a depth of 25 km (16 mi) and the duration was 1 to 2 minutes.


The foreshock and aftershock sequence of this incident were major. Before the main shock, there was an earthquake swarm which persisted for three months, and the tremors afterwards lasted for more than two weeks. With hindsight, it is clear that this swarm and the mainshock were clear indicators of the awakening of the long-dormant Vulcan Santa Maria located 97 km (60 mi) to the Northwest, which led to the historic explosive eruption of 1902 which occurred 6 months later in October.

A majority of churches in western Guatemala and eastern Chiapas were either severely devastated or abolished. The number of people killed was between 800 and 2,000. [1] [2]

A strange occurrence of heavy rains, lightning, and thunder took place shortly before the earthquake. A few weeks before the earthquake there was rain every afternoon for several days straight. Guatemala City was instantly flooded when massive gaps opened in the streets, water pipes ruptured, and huts along with cathedrals disintegrated and collapsed, which also buried hundreds. In just one hour, approximately 80,000 people were made homeless. [4]

As soon as the earthquake took place the sky cleared up and there was no rain for approximately three weeks. It has been said that the earthquake had something to do with an atmospheric disturbance connected with an electrical nature. The reason for this is because the early storms were electrical storms. [5]

See also

Related Research Articles

Central America central geographic region of the Americas

Central America is a region in the southern tip of North America and is sometimes defined as a subregion of the Americas. This region is bordered by Mexico to the north, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south. Central America consists of seven countries: El Salvador, Costa Rica, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. The combined population of Central America is estimated at 44.53 million (2016).

El Salvador Country in Central America

El Salvador, officially the Republic of El Salvador, is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America. It is bordered on the northeast by Honduras, on the northwest by Guatemala, and on the south by the Pacific Ocean. El Salvador's capital and largest city is San Salvador. As of 2018, the country had a population of approximately 6.42 million, mostly consisting of European and Native American descent.

Earthquake Shaking of the surface of the earth caused by a sudden release of energy in the crust

An earthquake is the shaking of the surface of the Earth resulting from a sudden release of energy in the Earth's lithosphere that creates seismic waves. Earthquakes can range in size from those that are so weak that they cannot be felt to those violent enough to propel objects and people into the air, and wreak destruction across entire cities. The seismicity, or seismic activity, of an area is the frequency, type, and size of earthquakes experienced over a period of time. The word tremor is also used for non-earthquake seismic rumbling.

Lists of earthquakes directory to Wikipedia lists of earthquakes

Earthquakes are caused by movements within the Earth's crust and uppermost mantle. They range from events too weak to be detectable except by sensitive instrumentation, to sudden and violent events lasting many minutes which have caused some of the greatest disasters in human history. Below, earthquakes are listed by period, region or country, year, magnitude, cost, fatalities and number of scientific studies.

Santa María (volcano) mountain

Santa María Volcano is a large active volcano in the western highlands of Guatemala, in the Quetzaltenango Department near the city of Quetzaltenango.

Almolonga mountain in Guatemala

The Almolonga volcano, usually called "Cerro Quemado" is an andesitic stratovolcano in the south-western department of Quetzaltenango in Guatemala. The volcano is located near the town of Almolonga, just south of Quetzaltenango, Guatemala's second largest city.

San Pedro Sacatepéquez, San Marcos Municipality of Guatemala in San Marcos

San Pedro Sacatepéquez is a city, with a population of 49,589, and a municipality in the San Marcos department of Guatemala. The municipality covers an area of 114 km2 at an altitude of 2330 metres and has a population of 79,158.

Hurricane Stan Category 1 Atlantic hurricane in 2005

Hurricane Stan was a relatively weak but deadly tropical cyclone that affected areas of Central America in early October 2005. The eighteenth named storm and eleventh hurricane of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, Stan formed from a tropical wave on October 1 after it had moved into the western Caribbean Sea. The depression slowly intensified, and reached tropical storm intensity the following day, before subsequently making its first landfall on the Yucatán Peninsula. Traversing the peninsula, the tropical storm weakened, but was able to re-intensify once it entered the Bay of Campeche. Under favorable conditions for tropical development, Stan attained hurricane strength on October 4, and later reached peak intensity with winds of 80 mph (130 km/h) and a minimum barometric pressure of 977 mbar. The hurricane maintained this intensity until landfall near Punta Roca Partida, Mexico later the same day. Once over the mountainous terrain of Mexico, however, Stan quickly weakened, and dissipated on October 5.

Sierra Madre de Chiapas mountain in Central America

The Sierra Madre de Chiapas is a major mountain range in Central America. It crosses El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico and Honduras. The Sierra Madre de Chiapas is part of the American Cordillera, a chain of mountain ranges that consists of an almost continuous sequence of mountain ranges that form the western "backbone" of North America, Central America, and South America.

1717 Guatemala earthquake

The 1717 Guatemala earthquake struck Guatemala on September 29 with an estimated moment magnitude of 7.4, and a Mercalli intensity of approximately IX (Violent). The earthquake essentially destroyed much of the architecture of Antigua Guatemala, which was the colonial capital of Central America at the time. Over 3,000 buildings were ruined including many temples and churches. Such was the effect of the disaster that the authorities considered moving the headquarters to a settlement which was less prone to natural disasters.

1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo Volcanic eruption in the Philippines in 1991

The 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo was a significant volcanic eruption in the Luzon Volcanic Arc of the Central Luzon region of the Philippines. Eruptive activity began on April 2 as a series of phreatic explosions from a fissure that opened on the north side of Mount Pinatubo. Seismographs were set up and began monitoring the volcano for earthquakes. In late May, the number of seismic events under the volcano fluctuated from day-to-day. Beginning June 6, a swarm of progressively shallower earthquakes accompanied by inflationary tilt on the upper east flank of the mountain, culminated in the extrusion of a small lava dome.

2007–2008 Nazko earthquakes

The 2007–2008 Nazko earthquakes were a series of small volcanic earthquakes measuring less than 4.0 on the Richter magnitude scale. They took place in the sparsely populated Nazko area of the Central Interior of British Columbia, Canada starting on October 9, 2007 and ending on June 12, 2008. They occurred just west of Nazko Cone, a small tree-covered cinder cone that last erupted about 7,200 years ago.

1773 Guatemala earthquake

The 1773 Guatemala earthquake struck Guatemala on July 29 at 15:45 local time. It had an estimated epicentral magnitude of 7.5 Mi. It was part of a sequence that started in May that year. There were two strong foreshocks on June 11 and the mainshock was followed by numerous aftershocks which lasted until December 1773. The series of all these earthquakes is also referred to as the Santa Marta earthquake(s) as it had started on the feast day of Saint Martha.

Brawley Seismic Zone

The Brawley Seismic Zone (BSZ), also known as the Brawley fault zone, is a predominantly extensional tectonic zone that connects the southern terminus of the San Andreas Fault with the Imperial Fault in Southern California. The BSZ is named for the nearby town of Brawley in Imperial County, California, and the seismicity there is characterized by earthquake swarms.

1982 El Salvador earthquake

The 1982 El Salvador earthquake occurred southeast of San Salvador on 19 June at 00:21 local time. This undersea earthquake struck offshore in the Pacific Ocean and had a surface wave magnitude of 7.2 and a maximum Mercalli intensity of VII. Occurring adjacent to a subduction zone at the Middle America Trench, this normal-slip shock left at least 16 and as many as 43 people dead, and many injured, and also inflicted $5 million in damage.

1995 Chiapas earthquake

The 1995 Chiapas earthquake occurred on October 20 at 20:38 local time. The epicenter was located in Ocozocoautla de Espinosa, in the state of Chiapas, Mexico, near Tuxtla Gutiérrez. It had a magnitude of Mw 7.1, or ML 6.5. Building damage was reported. Around 70 people were reported injured. In Tuxtla Gutiérrez, telephone and electricity services were momentarily interrupted. This earthquake could be felt strongly in Mexico City and in many parts of southern Mexico. It could also be felt in Guatemala and El Salvador. The centroid mechanism is of thrust faulting with a small strike-slip component. The rupture of this earthquake propagated from NW to SE over a distance of about 30 km. The duration of the rupture was about 17 s. The earthquake was resulted from the internal deformation of the Cocos Plate, which is subducting beneath the North American Plate.

1942 Guatemala earthquake

The 1942 Guatemala earthquake occurred at 17:37 local time on August 6 and had ratings of 7.7 on the moment magnitude scale and 7.9 on the surface wave magnitude scale. The epicenter was located off the southern coast of Guatemala, and it was one of the strongest earthquakes ever recorded there.

2017 Chiapas earthquake 8.2 earthquake with epicenter in Chiapas,

The 2017 Chiapas earthquake struck at 23:49 CDT on 7 September in the Gulf of Tehuantepec off the southern coast of Mexico, near state of Chiapas, approximately 87 kilometres (54 mi) southwest of Pijijiapan, with a Mercalli intensity of IX (Violent). The magnitude was estimated to be Mw8.2.


  1. 1 2 3 USGS (September 4, 2009), PAGER-CAT Earthquake Catalog, Version 2008_06.1, United States Geological Survey
  2. 1 2 White, Ligorria & Cifuentes 2004 , p. 394
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 White, Ligorria & Cifuentes 2004, p. 387
  4. Davis, Lee (January 1, 2009). Natural Disasters (revised ed.). Facts on File Science Library: Infobase Publishing. p. 50. ISBN   978-1-4381-1878-9.
  5. Eisen, Gustav (1903). "The Earthquake and Volcanic Eruption in Guatemala in 1902". Bulletin of the American Geographical Society. 35 (4): 329. JSTOR   197952.