7.4 Quake Hits Off Guatemala, 39 Dead

Buildings shake as far away as Mexico City

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 7, 2012 11:16 AM CST | Updated Nov 7, 2012 1:48 PM CST

(Newser) – At least 39 people died in Guatemala today after a mighty 7.4-magnitude quake struck just off the coast. President Otto Perez Molina declared a state of emergency, urging people to evacuate tall buildings, the BBC reports. The quake hit about 15 miles southwest of Champerico at a depth of about 26 miles, but buildings shook as far away as Mexico City, and one in San Salvador actually toppled over, Reuters reports.

"It was really big, I felt quite nauseous," says one woman who was in a 10th-floor office in Guatemala City. Landslides have buried a number of roads, and it may be 24 hours before traffic is moving freely again. The US Pacific Tsunami Center said there was no danger of a big tsunami, but warned that a localized one was still possible.

People who work in office buildings along El Paseo de la Reforma stand outside after evacuating their offices due to an earthquake in Mexico City, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012.   (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)
A seismic scale is seen in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Shabbir Hussain Imam)
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