The Mexico City earthquake that killed more than 200 hundred people and injured thousands more on Tuesday was more devastating because of the locality’s jelly-like soft soil, seismologists explained.
In the past two weeks alone, the Latin country was hit with two powerful earthquakes, leaving extensive devastation in its wake.
On Tuesday, the nation was literally shaken by a 7.1 magnitude quake that killed at least 213 people in the capital city alone, most of whom were trapped in toppled structures.
According to CNN, the epicenter of the trembling was located 2.8 miles or 4.5 kilometers east-northeast of San Juan Raboso and 34.1 miles or 55 km south-southwest of the Puebla City based on data from the U.S. Geological Survey.
Because of the massive destruction, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto declared the country to be in a state of national emergency during his first address since the onset of the tremor.
Earlier this month, the southern coast of the country was struck by 8.1 magnitude quake, leaving at least 90 people dead in its wake.
While the two shakers were located in different areas, University of Technology Sydney Associate Professor of Geotechnical and Earthquake Engineering Behzad Fatahi explained that they were actually related.
Based on data gathered on the calamities, Fatahi revealed to CNN that the devastating Mexico earthquakes were caused by the rupture of fault lines within the North American tectonic plate.
“It is not very unusual to get earthquakes and aftershocks occurring in sequence,” the expert explained.
“When fault lines rupture, they can induce further ruptures as a chain effect in other parts of the same fault or nearby fault lines.”
Other seismologists also explained why the second tremor in the country’s capital was a lot more damaging than the first, noting that it has something to do with the locale’s soft soil.
Speaking to ABC News, University of Cambridge Geophysics Professor James Jackson explained that the tremors were amplified because Mexico City is built on soft soil from the bottom of a lake. The soil and sediments that form the base of the city amplified the vibrations, or the so-called seismic waves, thereby causing longer and more intense shaking on the surface and everything built on it.
“It’s like being built on jelly on top of something that is wobbling.”
Southern California Earthquake Center director and seismologist John Vidale agreed, explaining to CNN that the soil in Mexico City “is prone to liquefaction, which is the ability to transform dirt into a dense liquid when sufficiently churned.”
Meanwhile, Cornell University geophysicist Geoffrey Abers revealed that this was also the reason why Mexico City’s 1985 earthquake, which was mentioned in Salma Hayek’s crowd funding Instagram post as reported by the Inquisitr, was so destructive.
[Featured Image by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images]