At Least 35 Dead in Mexico Quake
The magnitude 8.1 earthquake struck late Thursday
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 8, 2017 2:29 PM CDT
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Residents stand in front of rubble from a partially collapsed building felled by a massive earthquake in Juchitan, Oaxaca state, Mexico, Friday, Sept. 8, 2017.   (AP Photo/Luis Alberto Cruz)

(Newser) – The death toll from Mexico's huge earthquake has risen to 35, the AP reports. The magnitude 8.1 earthquake appears to have hit hardest in the city of Juchitan, a township of almost 100,000 people that's a center of the Zapotec culture. The Oaxaca state government says 17 people in Juchitan died in the earthquake that struck late Thursday. State spokesperson Alfonso Martinez said he saw "a very high percentage of homes damaged or destroyed." "It's not just the roofs that have collapsed. In many cases the walls have cracked or collapsed completely," he said. Martinez said it's unlikely more dead will be found in the town, but said soldiers were still digging through the rubble.

Meanwhile Chiapas state civil defense director Luis Manuel Moreno says 10 people are known dead and about 120 people have been injured across his state, the closest to the earthquake. Many buildings in the area are constructed of thick, unreinforced masonry walls, with timber roof beams supporting clay tile roofs. That appears to have contributed to the injuries. A preliminary analysis indicates the quake was triggered by the sudden breaking or bending of the Cocos plate, which dives beneath Mexico. This type of process doesn't happen often in subduction zones. "It's unusual, but it's not unheard of," says seismologist Susan Hough of the US Geological Survey.

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