8.0 magnitude of earthquake struck off the coast of Chiapas, Mexico, late on Thursday (September 7), stated the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC), citing USGS data.
Located on top of three large tectonic plates, Mexico is one of the world's most seismologically vulnerable region. The relative movement of the tectonic plates is prone to persistent earthquakes and occasional volcanic eruptions.
The Mexican landmass is situated on the westward moving landmass of the North American plate. The Pacific Ocean floor located south of Mexico is carried northeastward by the repressed Cocos plate.
The oceanic plate being relatively condensed is prone to subduction and at convergent boundaries of tectonic plates, one plate tends to move under another and sinks gradually, due to the force of gravity, in the Earth's mantle.
The Pacific Ocean floor is prone to this geological phenomenon when the oceanic floor confronts the Mexican landmass. The ocean floor moves beneath the North American plate producing the deep Middle American trench, along the south coast of Mexico.
The westward moving Mexican landmass gradually decelerates and is wrinkling down thus creating the mountain ranges of southern Mexico and triggering earthquakes near its southern coast. The oceanic crust, when wrenched down, melts. The molten material then is rigorously forced upwards, making the continental crust feeble and weak. This procedure led to the creation of a range of volcanoes across south-central Mexico, popularly known as the Cordillera NeovolcÃ¡nica.
Thursday's earthquake hit Mexico most severely in the cities of Manual Avila Camacho, El Palmarcito, La Esperanza, La Barra, and Margaritas. A red alert has been issued following the violent jolt. The epicenter of the earthquake is in Pijijiapan, a town in Chiapas of Mexico City.
Mexico has previously faced major earthquakes like the ones in 1995 and 1985 which also had 8.0 magnitude. The earthquake in 2012 and 2014 had had 7.4 magnitude and 7.2 magnitude respectively.