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No tsunami threat to Hawaii after powerful Mexican quake

By Star-Advertiser & Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 11:31 a.m. HST, May 8, 2014

A strong earthquake off the coast of Mexico Thursday did not generate a tsunami threat for Hawaii, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

The quake, with a magnitude of 6.4, struck at about 11 a.m. near the epicenter (7 a.m. in Hawaii) and was centered 9 miles west-southwest of Tecpan de Galena on Mexico's central coast, at a depth of about 15 miles, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The USGS downgraded the magnitude from 6.8.

The Associated Press reported that strong shaking was felt in Mexico City, about 188 miles southwest of the epicenter, sending frightened office workers streaming into the streets away from high-rise buildings. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

The tsunami warning center on Oahu said a destructive, Pacific-wide tsunami is not expected from the earthquake.

Carmen Lopez, a businesswoman from Michoacan, was leaving a downtown Mexico City office building when the ground began to sway. She dashed across the street to a leafy median as light poles swayed violently above her.

"That was just too scary," Lopez said, as she quickly started dialing her cellphone to alert friends and family.

Behind her, thousands of people poured out from neighboring office buildings, following pre-planned evacuation routes to areas considered safe from possible falling glass.

Mexico City is vulnerable to distant earthquakes because much of it sits atop the muddy sediments of drained lake beds. They jiggle like jelly when quake waves hit.

A 7.2-magnitude quake with an epicenter in the same region shook central and southern Mexico on April 18. 

A magnitude-8.1 quake that killed at least 6,000 people and destroyed many buildings in Mexico City in 1985 was centered 250 miles away on the Pacific Coast.

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