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NEIC; the National Earthquake Information Center

January 1, 1989

Mexico was hit by one of the most devastating earthquakes in its history on September 19, 1985 at 7:18 a.m. MDT time. this earthquake, which was centered about 380 kilometers west-southwest of Mexico City, had a surface-wave magnitude of 8.1. In less than a minute, seismic waves from this earthquake had traveled to Mexico City. At this early hour, people were beginning to get ready for the day's work. Without warning, buildings in some sections of the city began to shake violently. A few minutes later, 412 buildings had collapsed and another 3,124 were badly damaged (figure 1). Most communication systems linking Mexico City to the rest of the world were damaged or rendered inoperable.

At least 9,500 people were killed, 30,000 were injured and 100,000 were left homeless by this earthquake. According to some unconfirmed reports, the death toll from this earthquake may have been as high as 35,000. this earthquake is estimated to have seriously affected an area of 825,000 square kilometers, caused between 3 and 4 billion dollars in damage, and been felt by 20 million people.