A map of the magnitude 8.1 earthquake off the southern coast of Mexico.

Screengrab via USGS

From Central America to Texas, videos show Mexico’s magnitude 8.1 earthquake

Ceilings crumble, light poles shake, and then there are the mysterious 'earthquake lights.'


Samantha Grasso


Published Sep 8, 2017   Updated May 22, 2021, 6:06 pm CDT

In the late hours of Thursday night, a magnitude 8.1 earthquake hit the southern coast of Mexico.

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Tremors shook bordering Guatemala and the state of Chiapas, Mexico, up through the country, and could be felt in the United States as north as Dallas, according to felt reports submitted to the United States Geological Survey. Chiapas Gov. Manuel Velasco said roofs across the country had collapsed, and homes, schools, and hospitals were affected by the quake.

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According to BuzzFeed News, residents in Mexico City, more than 650 miles away from the earthquake’s epicenter, fled their buildings, barefoot and in robes. Windows at the airport are reportedly broken, and several neighborhoods lost power.

In a press conference, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto confirmed that at least 15 people had died as a result of the quake, as of 4am on Friday. 10 people had died in Oaxaca, while three deaths were reported in Chiapas, and the deaths of two children in Tabasco. Nieto said the quake was the strongest Mexico had experienced in a century, and was felt by 50 million of the country’s 120 million citizens.

Throughout Twitter, witnesses to the quake posted videos of buildings, business centers, and public monuments faltering across Mexico.

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Several witnesses captured evidence of a phenomenon called “earthquake lights,” atmospheric electrical discharges caused by the stress of certain rock properties.


As a result of the quake, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center warned of tsunami waves more than 10 feet high hitting some coasts of Mexico. Oaxaca Gov. Alejandro Murat asked citizens in areas of risk to follow security protocol and evacuate the area around 1:30am Friday.

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*First Published: Sep 8, 2017, 8:50 am CDT