UNAM expert explains

In the framework of the third earthquake that occurs in Mexico in September 19th after the seismicity of 1985 and 2017a specialist from UNAM He detailed the differences between the two earthquakes that preceded the one that occurred yesterday, as he reflected on the changes that the experience of the events allowed, in social, historical and educational matters.

Minutes after the National Drill alarm sounded, history repeated itself and an earthquake with an epicenter in Coalcocoman, Michoacán of 7.7 degrees was recorded, according to the National Seismological Service.

In 2017, the movement of the earth caused the collapse of some buildings that mainly affected the downtown area, in addition to Oaxaca (epicenter), also caused the death of hundreds of people, while yesterday there was only some damage to buildings without reporting deaths. However, experts point out that neither was as devastating as the one 37 years ago.

Given this, the researcher Raúl Valenzuela Wong, from the Department of Seismology of the Institute of Geophysics, pointed out that actions in social and academic matters should focus on prevention rather than prediction, “it is imperative to know how we can guarantee that our homes and constructions are well done”.

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Despite the fact that each time progress has been made regarding construction regulations and preparation for this type of phenomenon, he explained that for some researchers the earthquake of 85 was a reference for the next events, however, the one of 2017 showed that still The lessons and teachings remain, in addition to the “way to go” on the subject.

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Raúl stated that five years ago, the ideal would have been for no building to collapse, which warned that there are still old buildings that were not reinforced, and that construction standards were not met.

He also clarified that tremors of great magnitude have occurred in other months, which breaks the stigma that September is a “dangerous” month.

“We have tremors that have not happened in September; one of these, perceived strong in Mexico City in July 1957, known as the “Angel” earthquake; another in March 1979, that of “La Ibero”, which left the facilities of the Universidad Iberoamericana in the Campestre Churubusco neighborhood in a battered condition, he explained.

According to the statement, large earthquakes are associated with movements in subduction zones or in tectonic environments as in the cases already mentioned, 57, 85, 95 and 17.

Read also: 19S. Studying the coincidence between the 3 earthquakes requires new lines of research: UNAM

The tremor of the 17th was 8.2 with an epicenter in Oaxaca, a magnitude that according to the specialist had not happened since 1932.

“85 years had passed, it is important to put it in perspective if we think of others of magnitude 8 or greater in Mexico,” said Wong, the difference with this one was that it occurred within a single tectonic plate, that is, in the Cocos Plate that lies under the North American Plate, “Occurred in an extensional tectonic environment”,

Why is it difficult to predict an earthquake?

Wong explains that earthquakes occur at depths of 10, 15, 50 or more kilometers where there is no chance of making an exact measurement or preventing them from occurring.

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Seismometers serve to record them, once they occur, “it is very difficult to undertake observations of the Earth from its interior and for this to anticipate that one may occur.”

The specialist added that when it is known that an earthquake of any magnitude occurred in one part of the world, after a certain time, or number of years, “because of the way in which energy is accumulated” another of the same magnitude can be produced. same magnitude in the area.

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