My friend, Brigitte, from Oaxaca says: “Which earthquake?” Was it a non-event in Oaxaca City?
This morning I got a call from a friend asking about the earthquake last night in Oaxaca. Here is a Map of the site. The epicenter is near Tonala in the mountains about 75 miles northeast of the southern coastal city of Salina Cruz near the Chiapas border. This is FAR from the city of Oaxaca!
Having grown up in Southern California where earthquakes are also a common occurrence, I’m always on the alert about earthquakes in Oaxaca. Fortunately, I know that while some damage can occur with a 4.2 magnitude quake, the ones that are over 6.0 on the Richter Scale can really wreak havoc. Most of the recent Oaxaca quakes have been in rural areas far from the historic center of Oaxaca city. That’s not to say they don’t pose a threat to people living in humble homes built of adobe. The rainy season also brings the risk of landslides to mountain villages, which is what happened last year.
Those of us who live in and visit Oaxaca often know that this is earth’s way of taking a breath, letting it out, sighing, and realigning. The small quakes are good — the shift and readjustment of life on earth.
Sturdy construction prevents earthquake damage. Six foot foundations are filled with large boulders reinforced with concrete.
Lots of rebar is used to provide a solid footing for bricks, adobe or concrete blocks — common construction materials. The Zapotecs really know how to build to last multiple generations!
Here you can see the footings being prepared for house construction — a safeguard against strong earthquakes!