Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Magnitude 7.4 Quake Strikes Guatemala

A Magnitude 7.4 earthquake has just struck off of the coast of Guatemala in another Pacific subduction quake. There were no immediate reports of damage, and the inland appears to have been spared major shaking due to the mountain ranges that seem to have served as a buffer. The quake occurred off of Guatemala's west coast at a depth of 41.6km, which is also why the surface intensity must have felt a bit lower (shallower quakes are typically a lot more damaging).


Google Earth snapshot with USGS real time quake plugin.


There are no immediate detailed reports for this quake. A blog on CNN is the most up-to-date at this time. There was no threat of a tsunami according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, who's statement is below:

"TSUNAMI INFORMATION STATEMENT NUMBER 1
NWS PACIFIC TSUNAMI WARNING CENTER
EWA BEACH HI 643 AM HST WED NOV 07 2012
TO - CIVIL DEFENSE IN THE STATE OF HAWAII SUBJECT - TSUNAMI INFORMATION STATEMENT
THIS STATEMENT IS FOR INFORMATION ONLY.
NO ACTION REQUIRED.

AN EARTHQUAKE HAS OCCURRED WITH THESE PRELIMINARY PARAMETERS ORIGIN TIME - 0636 AM HST 07 NOV 2012 COORDINATES - 14.0 NORTH 92.2 WEST LOCATION - OFF THE COAST OF CHIAPAS MEXICO MAGNITUDE - 7.5 MOMENT EVALUATION

BASED ON ALL AVAILABLE DATA A DESTRUCTIVE PACIFIC-WIDE TSUNAMI IS NOT EXPECTED AND THERE IS NO TSUNAMI THREAT TO HAWAII. REPEAT.

A DESTRUCTIVE PACIFIC-WIDE TSUNAMI IS NOT EXPECTED AND THERE IS NO TSUNAMI THREAT TO HAWAII. THIS WILL BE THE ONLY STATEMENT ISSUED FOR THIS EVENT UNLESS ADDITIONAL DATA ARE RECEIVED. "

There are many volcanoes int he area, as this epicenter lies along the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire. Volcanoes in the area include (from NW to SE):

Tacaná
Tajumulco
Santa Maria (currently erupting)
Almolonga
Santo Tomás
Tolimán
Atitlán
Fuego
Acatenango

Quakes of this magnitude can affect seismicity in active volcanoes, especially ones that frequently erupt, or have a very pressurized magma chamber. It is unclear at this time whether or not this will be the case.

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