2012 Guatemala earthquake

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2012 Guatemala earthquake
Eartquake Guatemala 2012.jpg
Relief map of Guatemala.jpg
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Guatemala City
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Champerico
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Quetzaltenango
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San Marcos
UTC  time2012-11-07 16:35:45
ISC  event 601879562
USGS-ANSS ComCat
Local dateNovember 7, 2012 (2012-11-07)
Local time10:35:45
Magnitude7.4 Mw
Depth24.1 kilometres (15 mi) [1]
Epicenter 13°59′13″N91°57′54″W / 13.987°N 91.965°W / 13.987; -91.965 Coordinates: 13°59′13″N91°57′54″W / 13.987°N 91.965°W / 13.987; -91.965 [1]
Areas affected Guatemala
Max. intensity VII (Very strong) [1]
Casualties39 killed [2]

The 2012 Guatemala earthquake occurred on November 7 at 10:35:45 local time. The shock had a moment magnitude of 7.4 and a maximum Mercalli Intensity of VII (Very strong). The epicenter was located in the Pacific Ocean, 35 kilometres (22 mi) south of Champerico in the department of Retalhuleu. [1] The region is one of many earthquakes, where the Cocos Plate is being subducted along the Middle America Trench beneath the North American and the Caribbean Plates, near their triple junction. [3]

The moment magnitude scale is a measure of an earthquake's magnitude based on its seismic moment, expressed in terms of the familiar magnitudes of the original "Richter" magnitude scale.

The epicenter, epicentre or epicentrum in seismology is the point on the Earth's surface directly above a hypocenter or focus, the point where an earthquake or an underground explosion originates.

Pacific Ocean Ocean between Asia and Australia in the west, the Americas in the east and Antarctica or the Southern Ocean in the south.

The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south and is bounded by Asia and Australia in the west and the Americas in the east.

Contents

The quake was reportedly felt in Guatemala and in parts of Mexico, El Salvador, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. [4] Damage to buildings was reported in several cities in Guatemala, including San Marcos, Quetzaltenango and the capital Guatemala City. [5] The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a warning about the possibility of a local tsunami within 100 to 200 miles (160 to 320 km) of the epicenter. [6]

Guatemala Republic in Central America

Guatemala, officially the Republic of Guatemala, is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, Belize and the Caribbean to the northeast, Honduras to the east, El Salvador to the southeast and the Pacific Ocean to the south. With an estimated population of around 16.6 million, it is the most populated country in Central America. Guatemala is a representative democracy; its capital and largest city is Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción, also known as Guatemala City.

Mexico Country in the southern portion of North America

Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Covering almost 2,000,000 square kilometres (770,000 sq mi), the nation is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent state in the world. With an estimated population of over 120 million people, the country is the eleventh most populous state and the most populous Spanish-speaking state in the world, while being the second most populous nation in Latin America after Brazil. Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states and Mexico City, a special federal entity that is also the capital city and its most populous city. Other metropolises in the state include Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana and León.

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 2016, the country had a population of approximately 6.34 million.

With 39 dead, this is the most intense and deadliest earthquake that has hit Guatemala since the earthquake of 1976. [2] [7] [8]

1976 Guatemala earthquake February 1976 earthquake in Guatemala

The 1976 Guatemala earthquake struck on February 4 at 03:01:43 local time with a moment magnitude of 7.5. The shock was centered on the Motagua Fault, about 160 km northeast of Guatemala City at a depth of 5 kilometers (3.1 mi) near the town of Los Amates in the department of Izabal.

Damage and casualties by country

Guatemala

San Marcos, Quetzaltenango, Sololá, Totonicapán, Quiché and Huehuetenango were the hardest hit departments. [9] [10] Preliminary reports mention a death toll of at least 42 in Guatemala, of which 29 in San Marcos, 11 in Quetzaltenango, and 2 in Sololá. [5] [11] According to the minister of energy of Guatemala, the earthquake left 73,000 households without power. [12] The Guatemalan president initially declared a 30-day "state of calamity" in the departments of Retalhuleu, Sololá, Totonicapán, San Marcos, Quetzaltenango, Quiché and Huehuetenango. [10] [13] The "state of calamity" was subsequently prolonged until being revoked on July 25, 2013. [14] [15] In Guatemala, as of November 11, 9,414 houses were found damaged, and 18,755 people were evacuated, 7,218 of which stayed in 61 refuges. [2] [16] The Pan-American Highway in Guatemala (CA-1) was damaged. [17]

San Marcos Department Department in San Marcos, Guatemala

San Marcos is a department in northwestern Guatemala, on the Pacific Ocean and along the western Guatemala-Mexico border.

Quetzaltenango Department Department in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala

Quetzaltenango is a department in the western highlands of Guatemala. The capital is the city of Quetzaltenango, the second largest city in Guatemala. The department is divided up into 24 municipalities. The inhabitants include Spanish-speaking Ladinos and the K'iche' and Mam Maya groups, both with their own Maya language. The department consists of mountainous terrain, with its principal river being the Samalá River. the department is seismically active, suffering from both earthquakes and volcanic activity.

Sololá Department Department in Sololá, Guatemala

Sololá is a department in the west of Guatemala. The capital is the city of Sololá. Lake Atitlan is a key feature surrounded by a number of the municipalities.

Finite fault model of the earthquake 7.4M 2012 Guatemala earthquake - Finite Fault Model by USGS.png
Finite fault model of the earthquake
Heavy damage to buildings in San Marcos, Guatemala Terremoto 2012 en San Marcos, Guatemala. 01.jpg
Heavy damage to buildings in San Marcos, Guatemala
Damaged buildings in the city of San Marcos, a few seconds after the earthquake Terremoto 2012 en San Marcos, Guatemala. 03.jpg
Damaged buildings in the city of San Marcos, a few seconds after the earthquake

There were collapsed buildings and reported deaths and injuries in San Marcos. Accounts of deaths and injuries in San Marcos were initially difficult to confirm due to communication interruption and roads blocked by landslides. [18] Many people in San Marcos, fearing possible aftershocks, gathered on the cold and dark streets. [19] At least 50 houses were damaged in El Quetzal, 9 of which no longer inhabitable, and the dwellers had to take refuge in the community public school. [20] [21] More than 300 people stayed in 10 refuges in the department. [19] Lack of water in the refuges in San Pedro Sacatepéquez and San Marcos due to the collapse of piping caused preoccupations about the sanitary conditions. [22]

El Quetzal Place in San Marcos, Guatemala

El Quetzal is a municipality in the San Marcos department of Guatemala. It was recognised as municipality on 19th of June 1900. The major source of income is the agriculture.

Eight people were buried in a landslide in Concepción Chiquirichapa. Ten deaths were reported in Quetzaltenango department. [23] 156 houses were damaged in Quetzaltenango Department, and government buildings in Quetzaltenango City (Xela) were slightly damaged. [24]

Concepción Chiquirichapa Municipality and town in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala

Concepción Chiquirichapa is a municipality in the Guatemalan department of Quetzaltenango in the Western Highlands of Guatemala, 14 kilometers west of the departmental capital of Quetzaltenango, and 214 kilometers west of the capital Guatemala City. The municipality has nearly 23,000 inhabitants, 98% of whom identify as indigenous Maya-Mam and speak a dialect of Southern Mam.

Retalhuleu, situated in the south, is close to the epicenter. The Departmental Palace of Retalhuleu, a historical building, was damaged, which caused the government offices therein to be relocated. [25]

Sololá reported the most damaged houses with number of 4,756, followed by 3,870 in San Marcos. [17]

Cracks were reported in Palacio Nacional de la Cultura in Guatemala City, a former government seat built between 1939 and 1943. [26]

Some houses of the coffee growers were damaged. No major damage was reported for agricultural products such as coffee, vegetables and potatoes. [27]

Mexico

Minor damage was reported in the state of Chiapas, which neighbors Guatemala. In Chiapas, public buildings were evacuated, and telephone and internet services were interrupted. [28] Over a dozen of buildings in Chiapas had minor fissures; the city hall of Tapachula, the installations of the Desarrollo Integral de la Familia, along with a school in Ciudad Hidalgo, were among the places affected. [29]

In the state of Oaxaca, several aftershocks of the earthquake were felt throughout various communities. [30] [31] The quake was also felt in the states of Campeche, Guerrero, Michoacán, Morelos, Puebla and Tabasco. [32]

In Mexico City, workers rushed to the streets from the office buildings, and no major damage was reported. [7] [33]

El Salvador

In El Salvador, many urban dwellers evacuated their homes in the capital city, but there were no reports of any damage. [34]

Nicaragua

Nicaragua emitted a tsunami alert after the quake and alerted several communities along the coastlines to mobilize to higher altitudes. [35]

Relief and reconstruction

The minister of finance of Guatemala expressed that 800 million quetzales were ready for covering emergent needs due to the earthquake. The Ministry of Health of Guatemala assigned 1 million quetzales to the hospital of San Marcos and dispatched two trucks with medicines. [9] In Guatemala City, various organizations collected donated provisions for people affected by the earthquake. [36] The minister of interior announced a fund of 25 million quetzales for the reconstruction of damaged police stations, prisons, and government buildings. [37]

The United States Ambassador to Guatemala announced to offer 50,000 USD to Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres (CONRED) for immediate humanitarian help. The United States and Taiwan would offer 110,000 USD in total as economical support. The Inter-American Development Bank would offer 200,000 USD. Various countries offered to provide help in personnel or matter, including Venezuela and Chile. [38] World Food Programme offered 72 tonnes of emergency food aid. [39]

On November 9, the authorities started the evaluation of the damaged houses in San Marcos and San Pedro Sacatepéquez to decide which to be repaired and which to be demolished and rebuilt. [40] The reconstruction in San Marcos had started on November 27. [41] It was estimated that the reconstruction of the houses could need at least a year. [17]

See also

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References

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  2. 1 2 3
  3. See legend in map.
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