Saturday 7 September 2013

Magnitude 6.6 Earthquake in southwest Guatemala causes at least one death.

A Magnitude 6.6 Earthquake at a depth of 67 km hit southeast Guatemala, close to the border with Mexico, slightly before 6.15 pm local time on Friday 6 September 2013 (slightly before 0.15 am on Saturday 7 September, GMT), according to the United States Geological Survey. This is a large quake, and has reportedly caused injuries and damage to buildings across much of southern Guatemala, with one woman dying of a heart attack in Coatepeque. The quake was also felt in Mexico and El Salvador, though there are no reports of any damage or injuries outside Guatemala at this time.

The approximate location of the 6 September 2013 Guatemala Earthquake. Google Maps.

Guatemala is located on the southern part of the Caribbean Plate, close to its boundary with the Cocos Plate, which underlies part of the east Pacific. The Cocos Plate is being pushed northwards by expansion of the crust along the East Pacific Rise, and is subducted beneath the Caribbean Plate along the Middle American Trench, which runs parallel to the south coast of Guatemala and neighboring countries, passing under Central America as it sinks into the Earth's interior. This is not a smooth process, the plates tend to stick together, breaking apart again once the pressure from the northward movement of the Cocos Plate builds up to much, triggering Earthquakes. 

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