September 8th, 2017, M 8.1 Earthquake


Tsunami Impacts from the M8.1 Chiapas, Mexico Earthquake on Sept. 7, 2017 compiled by Rick Wilson, Marisa-Teresa Ramirez-Herrera, Lori Dengler, Kevin Miller, and Yvette LaDuke


Articles in Spanish



  • Performance of Buildings in Guatemala by Alvaro Rubio, Angel Pérez-Irizarry, Keshab Sharma,Ignace Mugabo, & Sharoo Shrestha
  • Guatemala has had four significant earthquakes in the past four years. While the earthquake was felt by most in Guatemala City, there was no significant damage to buildings. Most structures that were damaged were adobe structures, clay brick, or general poor construction with little to no engineering. There were a number of schools (33), churches (10), and buildings (25) that were heavily damaged due to this particular earthquake, however, many buildings were already damaged due to the previous earthquakes. The most affected region was Tacana. There was also landslides and surface rupture as a result of the earthquake.
  • Schools by Erica Fischer, Gabby Haro, & Manny Hakhamaneshi
  • Hundreds of schools were damaged in the Chiapas, Oaxaca, and Mexico City area. With the most schools damaged in Chiapas (over 800). All schools in the regions were closed Friday and Monday for inspection and evaluation. Schools were used as makeshift hospitals and emergency shelters throughout the region. There was one report of a collapsed school in Juchitan called Centro Escolar Federal Juchitan.
  • Performance of Retrofitted Buildings by Brian DeMeza, David Yoo, & Preetish Kakoty
  • Buildings in Mexico City were retrofitted after the 1985 earthquake. These slides mention a few retrofitted buildings and some retrofit ordinances mandated by the Mexico building code. Information regarding the performance of these retrofitted buildings was not available.
  • Highways, Landslides-Settlements, Earth Cracks, Rock Falls, Energy by Manny Hakhamaneshi, Yolanda Alberto, & Keshab Sharma
  • Several highways suffered from landslides, landslide induced settlements, rockslide, and land separations. Cintalapa-Tuxtla, Arriaga-Ocozocuaitla, Tuxtla-San Cristobal, and Oaxaca-Tehuantepec all suffered from landslides and landslide settlements. Land separation was observed at the Copoya-Tuxtla highway. Rockslide occurred in the area of Tuxtla Guitierrez, Tuxtla Malpaso and Assiaga-Ocozocuautla. The bridge connection Juchitan to Union Hidalgo in Oaxaca state survived but the roads leading up to each side fissured and the supporting walls buckled. In Simojovel, Chiapas, a landslide caused damage to 11 houses.
  • Response in Social Media by Angel Pérez-Irizarry, Yolanda Alberto, & Eytan Fiszman
  • Social Media responded greatly to the damages occurred to the dams, schools, buildings, and lifelines. The findings from the Social Media agree with the reports or news articles on the extent and types of damage observed due to the earthquake. Many Federal agencies of Mexico and officials tweeted about the extent and types of damage in different areas of the affected areas.
  • Dams and Other Geotechnical Damage by Yolanda Alberto, Manny Hakhamaneshi, & Keshab Sharma
  • The people from Berriozaba, Chiapas, are demanding an evaluation of the dam in the community because it had cracks even before the earthquake. They evacuated the area fearing an overflow. The Federal Electric Commission and the National Commission of Water sent a technical committee to evaluate the state of the dams in Chiapas and their report stated that there were no failures in the dams Peñitas, Chicoasen and Angostura. Area of Jaltipan, Veracruz has suffered from lateral spreading dividing the city into two halves. The earthquake caused a crack in the La Angostura dam; the National Commision of Water reports the damage is not structural. Several earth dams in the areas of Chiapas and Oaxaca are reported to have been damaged.
  • Early Warning System by Xin Ma & Yolanda Alberto
  • Mexico City has had an seismic warning system since 1991. This system was expanded to Oaxaca in 2003. A false alarm seismic warning went off 7:06pm on September 6 with the safety procedure initiated. The actual seismic warning went off at 11:50 pm on September 8 giving residents of Mexico City an 86 second warning. The early warning system has had plans for expansion to Chiapas in the near future.
  • Lifelines by Nicole Paul, Yolanda Alberto, Mohammad S. Alam & Preetish Kakoty
  • Several landslide, rockslide, and landslide settlements on several highways were observed. Land separation and land fissured were observed at several bridge roads. As estimated 1.85 million affected clients were reported by the Federal Electric Commission whilst it is reported that about 90% of the service damage is restored. State-run oil company Pemex has not restarted its Salina Cruz refinery due to aftershocks. Juchitan and surrounding areas including Asunción Ixtalepe lacked running water immediately following the earthquake. Internet and telephone services were interrupted in Mexico City, Puebla, Chiapas and Oaxaca but quickly restored. Based on the Mexico News Daily, about 48 health sector facilities, 29 public buildings, 52 churches and 106 commercial complexes and 11 bridges have been severely damaged.