Mexicans are worried after their third earthquake on September 19

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When the children’s parents were killed when a school collapsed during the 2017 Mexico earthquake and they celebrated mass in their memory, the earth began to shake again.

“No, not again! Oh my God, not again!” They shouted when a 7.6-magnitude earthquake shook the capital Monday, killing two people in the Pacific state of Colima.

Three powerful earthquakes struck Mexico on September 19 – in 1985, 2017 and now in 2022. An unlucky coincidence has heightened anxiety for many. The last two earthquakes also came very soon after the annual exercises held every September 19 to commemorate the devastating 1985 earthquake.

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Mexico’s national civil defense coordinator, Laura Velasquez, said Tuesday that the two deaths in Colima were due to collapsed parts of buildings. Ten people were wounded – nine in Colima and one in neighboring Michoacan.

She added that more than 200 buildings were damaged, including dozens of schools and health centers. Most of the damage occurred in the Pacific countries, near the epicenter of Michoacan. She said about 20 buildings in Mexico City were damaged, but it was minor.

A man walks down a street in Colcomán, Mexico, on September 20, 2022, after it was devastated by an earthquake the day before.
(AP Photo/Armando Solis)

On the morning of September 19, 1985, an 8-magnitude earthquake devastated the center, south, and west of the country, leaving about 9,500 people dead.

“It’s really weird, but not many people like it today,” said Jorge Ornelas, call center coordinator. He said that many of his acquaintances began to worry about an earthquake in September.

“If we keep thinking that every September 19th is going to shake, it will keep happening every year, because what you think is always going to happen,” said Ornlas, 35.

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There is no physical reason for large earthquakes to coincide in a single day, said Xyoli Pérez-Campos, a researcher in the Department of Seismology at the Geophysical Institute of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Monday’s earthquake was the result of “the interaction of the Cocos plate with the North American plate,” which also caused the 1985 earthquake.

Five plates – North America, Pacific, Riviera, Caribbean, and Cocos – all run under Mexican territory.

“The plates break when it’s time to break,” said Perez Campos. “What will they know about the calendar?”

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