11/7/2012 Guatemala Quake

Updated 11/7/2012

A 7.4M earthquake hit Guatemala at 16:35 UTC on 11/7/2012.  The epicenter was located in the Pacific Ocean 107 miles WSW of Guatemala City. It was felt as far away as Mexico City, 765 miles away, where office workers evacuated some skyscrapers. 

At least 39 people were killed in San Marcos state and Quetzaltenango, with 224,000 inhabitants the country's second largest city.  The worst hit area was in the mountains near the Mexican border, where buildings collapsed and landslides blocked roads. Rescuers  worked to rescue people buried in the debris.

In this area the Cocos tectonic plate is being forced under the neighboring North American and Caribbean plates near the intersection of the three plates of the the earth's crust. This quake was bigger than the 1983 7.1M quake in the same location almost 30 years ago, and bigger than anything in this area since.  A 7.5 M Quake killed 20,000 people in Guatemala in 1975. See The Earthquake Museum Plate Tectonics Page  for more on the root causes of earthquakes.  The US Geological Survey (USGS) is an invaluable resource in understanding and tracking earthquakes. See the USGS summary of this quake. This page now includes an interactive map, including plate boundaries. Zoom out all the way to see the whole earth with all the plates shown.

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