It finally happened today! We felt our first noticeable earthquake in Mexico City. I found online that a 5.8 earthquake hit somewhere between the south of Mexico City and Acapulco. (Click here for CNN article.) Here in the south of the city, we live on top of a bed of ancient solid volcanic rock, which keeps us from shaking too much. However, it seemed like that rock was really moving around today! We also live on the 6th floor of an apartment building, which means we might be swaying around a bit more than someone on the 1st floor.
I was sitting at the table, studying for my Spanish test tomorrow… and suddenly it felt like someone started forcibly shaking me and the table from side to side. But then we realized that the whole place was moving! The windows were creaking a bit so we moved away from them into the center of the apartment. It lasted for about 30 seconds, and it was kind-of dramatic too, because our daily thunderstorm had just rolled in as well.
While I am excited to have my first earthquake experience, it’s also a little scary. In the center and north of Mexico City, where the majority of the population lives, the city is built on a lake bed (of the ancient Aztec capitol). When a very strong earthquake hits there, it can be catastrophic. Mexico City’s last big earthquake was in 1985. It was a magnitude 8.1 quake, and it destroyed many buildings and killed lots of people (the government said 9,000 but most people guess that it killed about 60,000 to 100,000 people!). It’s possible that another quake like that could hit again, but allegedly there are many more precautions and safety procedures in place now, and I think they have recently been building more earthquake-resistant buildings. However, it is likely that it would again destroy many buildings and endanger many people. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen!
Anyway. It was very strange to feel something so powerful, even though it was not a very big one. You feel so small against the force of it, like the feeling of getting caught up in a strong ocean wave…