Written by on . Last updated March 3rd, 2024.

A strong M6.1 earthquake struck under land 65 kilometer from Guatemala City in Guatemala just before midnight of Friday January 26th, 2024. The earthquake struck near a very densely populated region. Around 24 million people have been exposed to shaking. Other countries near the epicenter include El Salvador, Mexico, Honduras and Belize.

Felt the earthquake? Share this article: Share on Facebook Tweet Submit to Reddit Share on LinkedIn

Earthquake Summary

The earthquake struck on land in Guatemala, 65 kilometer (40 mi) south of Guatemala City in Guatemala. The center of this earthquake had an intermediate depth of 90 km.

Date and Time: Jan 26, 2024 11:52PM (Guatemala Time)
- Jan 27, 2024 05:52 Universal Time.
Location: 65 km south of Guatemala City, Guatemala, Guatemala.
Coordinates 14°3'55"N 90°37'8"W.
Map: Map of area around epicenter.
Map of area around epicenter. Click to open in Google Maps.
Magnitude: MAG 6.1
Detected by 87 stations. Maximum Error Range ±0.033 .
Depth: 90 km (56 mi)
An intermediate depth.
Max. Intensity:
V
Moderate

On the Modified Mercalli Scale.
Tsunami Risk: Tsunami very unlikely
While this was a shallow earthquake in a coastal area, it appears to have occurred under land (16 km from the sea) with a magnitude that is usually not strong enough to cause tsunami's.
Always stay cautious - More info here.

Minimal impact predicted

The US Geographic Survey (USGS) describes the impact of this earthquake as follows:

Three persons injured by a landslide in Solola. One building destroyed at Quetzaltenango, 1 building damaged at La Gomera and 1 at San Pablo Jocopilas.

Based on scientific estimates by the USGS, the risk of high fatalities for this earthquake is classified at level GREEN (low). They expect an 65% likelyhood of between 0 and 1 fatalities, and a 96% chance that the number of fatalities falls no higher than 10.

The USGS classifies the economic impact of this earthquake at level GREEN (low). They expect an 100% likelyhood of between 0 and 1 million US Dollars in economic damage and impact.

Roughly 24 million people exposed to shaking

An estimated 24 million have been exposed to shaking (An MMI or Modified Mercalli Intensity level II or higher) as a result of this earthquake according scientific estimates published by the USGS.

The highest earthquake impact level for this earthquake is V, which corresponds with moderate shaking and very light damage. Roughly 548,400 people are expected to be exposed to this level. Intensity level IV was experienced by the majority of people (around 21 million). In their region, light shaking and likely no damage can be expected.

People in 4 countries have been exposed to shaking. Roughly 17 million people were exposed to shaking in Guatemala , with level V (moderate shaking, very light damage) as the highest recorded. Roughly 4.9 million people were exposed to shaking in El Salvador . Other countries where people were exposed to shaking include Mexico and Honduras.

People MMI Level Shaking Damage
0
I
Not noticable None
0
II
Very weak None
2,555,000
III
Weak Probably none
20,700,000
IV
Light Likely none
548,400
V
Moderate Very light
0
VI
Strong Light
0
VII
Very Strong Moderate
0
VIII
Severe Moderate to heavy
0
IX
Violent Heavy
0
X
Extreme Very heavy

Nearby towns and cities

Guatemala , El Salvador , Mexico , Honduras and Belize are all located within 300km distance of the epicenter of the earthquake.

Puerto San José in Escuintla, Guatemala is the nearest significant place from the epicenter. The earthquake occurred 27 kilometer (17 mi) north-east of Puerto San José. The intensity of shaking and damage in Puerto San José is estimated to be around level V on the Modified Mercalli Intensity scale (moderate shaking, very light damage).

Multiple large cities are in proximity of today's earthquake. Guatemala City is located 65 km to the north and experienced an intensity of IV (light shaking, likely no damage). Villa Nueva is located 51 km to the north and experienced an intensity of IV (light shaking, likely no damage). Mixco is located 63 km to the north and experienced an intensity of IV (light shaking, likely no damage).

The table below provides an overview of all places in proximity of today's earthquake. Where available, the estimated intensity on the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale in each place is included. Places where this information is omitted likely experienced little impact.

Overview of nearby places

Distance Place Intensity (MMI)
27 km (17 mi)
SW from epicenter
Puerto San José

Escuintla, Guatemala.
V
Moderate
32 km (20 mi)
NW from epicenter
Escuintla

Escuintla, Guatemala.
V
Moderate
39 km (24 mi)
NNW from epicenter
Palín

Escuintla, Guatemala.
IV
Light
39 km (24 mi)
NE from epicenter
Barberena

Santa Rosa, Guatemala.
IV
Light
42 km (26 mi)
NE from epicenter
Cuilapa

Santa Rosa, Guatemala.
IV
Light
46 km (29 mi)
N from epicenter
Amatitlán

Guatemala, Guatemala.
IV
Light
47 km (29 mi)
N from epicenter
Villa Canales

Guatemala, Guatemala.
IV
Light
47 km (29 mi)
W from epicenter
La Gomera

Escuintla, Guatemala.
V
Moderate
48 km (30 mi)
NNE from epicenter
Fraijanes

Guatemala, Guatemala.
IV
Light
49 km (30 mi)
NNW from epicenter
Santa María de Jesús

Sacatepéquez, Guatemala.
IV
Light
49 km (30 mi)
N from epicenter
Petapa

Guatemala, Guatemala.
IV
Light
51 km (32 mi)
N from epicenter
Villa Nueva

Guatemala, Guatemala.
IV
Light
51 km (32 mi)
NNW from epicenter
Alotenango

Sacatepéquez, Guatemala.
IV
Light
53 km (33 mi)
NNW from epicenter
Ciudad Vieja

Sacatepéquez, Guatemala.
IV
Light
53 km (33 mi)
NW from epicenter
Santa Lucía Cotzumalguapa

Escuintla, Guatemala.
IV
Light
57 km (35 mi)
NNW from epicenter
Antigua Guatemala

Sacatepéquez, Guatemala.
IV
Light
58 km (36 mi)
NNE from epicenter
San José Pinula

Guatemala, Guatemala.
IV
Light
58 km (36 mi)
NNW from epicenter
Jocotenango

Sacatepéquez, Guatemala.
IV
Light
58 km (36 mi)
NNE from epicenter
Santa Catarina Pinula

Guatemala, Guatemala.
IV
Light
61 km (38 mi)
N from epicenter
San Lucas Sacatepéquez

Sacatepéquez, Guatemala.
IV
Light
63 km (39 mi)
N from epicenter
Mixco

Guatemala, Guatemala.
IV
Light
64 km (40 mi)
N from epicenter
Santiago Sacatepéquez

Sacatepéquez, Guatemala.
IV
Light
65 km (40 mi)
N from epicenter
Guatemala City

Guatemala, Guatemala.
IV
Light
66 km (41 mi)
NNW from epicenter
San Andrés Itzapa

Chimaltenango, Guatemala.
IV
Light
66 km (41 mi)
N from epicenter
Sumpango

Sacatepéquez, Guatemala.
IV
Light
67 km (42 mi)
NNW from epicenter
El Tejar

Chimaltenango, Guatemala.
IV
Light
70 km (43 mi)
NNW from epicenter
Chimaltenango

Chimaltenango, Guatemala.
IV
Light
71 km (44 mi)
NNW from epicenter
Patzicía

Chimaltenango, Guatemala.
IV
Light
72 km (45 mi)
N from epicenter
Chinautla

Guatemala, Guatemala.
IV
Light
73 km (45 mi)
N from epicenter
San Juan Sacatepéquez

Guatemala, Guatemala.
IV
Light
73 km (45 mi)
NNE from epicenter
Palencia

Guatemala, Guatemala.
IV
Light
81 km (50 mi)
NNW from epicenter
Comalapa

Chimaltenango, Guatemala.
IV
Light
81 km (50 mi)
NNW from epicenter
Patzún

Chimaltenango, Guatemala.
IV
Light
81 km (50 mi)
NNE from epicenter
San Pedro Ayampuc

Guatemala, Guatemala.
IV
Light
82 km (51 mi)
ENE from epicenter
Jutiapa

Jutiapa, Guatemala.
IV
Light
84 km (52 mi)
WNW from epicenter
Tiquisate

Escuintla, Guatemala.
IV
Light
85 km (53 mi)
E from epicenter
Ahuachapán

Ahuachapán, El Salvador.
IV
Light
87 km (54 mi)
NNW from epicenter
Tecpán Guatemala

Chimaltenango, Guatemala.
IV
Light
92 km (57 mi)
NNE from epicenter
Sanarate

El Progreso, Guatemala.
IV
Light
92 km (57 mi)
NW from epicenter
Santiago Atitlán

Sololá, Guatemala.
IV
Light
93 km (58 mi)
NE from epicenter
Jalapa

Jalapa, Guatemala.
IV
Light
93 km (58 mi)
NW from epicenter
Chicacao

Suchitepeque, Guatemala.
IV
Light
99 km (62 mi)
NW from epicenter
Sololá

Sololá, Guatemala.
IV
Light
100 km (62 mi)
ESE from epicenter
Acajutla

Sonsonate, El Salvador.
IV
Light
104 km (65 mi)
ESE from epicenter
Sonsonate

Sonsonate, El Salvador.
IV
Light
111 km (69 mi)
NNW from epicenter
Chichicastenango

Quiché, Guatemala.
IV
Light
115 km (71 mi)
E from epicenter
Santa Ana

Santa Ana, El Salvador.
IV
Light
120 km (75 mi)
NNE from epicenter
Salamá

Baja Verapaz, Guatemala.
IV
Light
123 km (76 mi)
NW from epicenter
Totonicapán

Totonicapán, Guatemala.
IV
Light
126 km (78 mi)
WNW from epicenter
Retalhuleu

Retalhuleu, Guatemala.
IV
Light
129 km (80 mi)
NW from epicenter
Quetzaltenango

Quetzaltenango, Guatemala.
IV
Light
142 km (88 mi)
NE from epicenter
Chiquimula

Chiquimula, Guatemala.
IV
Light
151 km (94 mi)
ESE from epicenter
Santa Tecla

La Libertad, El Salvador.
IV
Light
155 km (96 mi)
NE from epicenter
Zacapa

Zacapa, Guatemala.
IV
Light
159 km (99 mi)
ESE from epicenter
Mejicanos

San Salvador, El Salvador.
IV
Light
159 km (99 mi)
N from epicenter
Cobán

Alta Verapaz, Guatemala.
IV
Light
159 km (99 mi)
NW from epicenter
San Pedro Sacatepéquez

San Marcos, Guatemala.
IV
Light
160 km (99 mi)
ESE from epicenter
San Salvador

San Salvador, El Salvador.
IV
Light
164 km (102 mi)
ESE from epicenter
Soyapango

San Salvador, El Salvador.
IV
Light
167 km (104 mi)
NW from epicenter
Huehuetenango

Huehuetenango, Guatemala.
IV
Light
182 km (113 mi)
E from epicenter
Chalatenango

Chalatenango, El Salvador.
IV
Light
186 km (116 mi)
ESE from epicenter
Cojutepeque

Cuscatlán, El Salvador.
III
Weak
199 km (124 mi)
ESE from epicenter
Zacatecoluca

La Paz, El Salvador.
IV
Light
200 km (124 mi)
WNW from epicenter
Tapachula

Chiapas, Mexico.
IV
Light
202 km (126 mi)
ESE from epicenter
San Vicente

San Vicente, El Salvador.
III
Weak
213 km (132 mi)
ENE from epicenter
Santa Rosa de Copán

Copán, Honduras.
IV
Light
215 km (134 mi)
E from epicenter
Sensuntepeque

Cabañas, El Salvador.
247 km (153 mi)
ESE from epicenter
Usulután

Usulután, El Salvador.
271 km (168 mi)
ESE from epicenter
San Miguel

San Miguel, El Salvador.
274 km (170 mi)
ENE from epicenter
Santa Bárbara

Santa Bárbara, Honduras.
275 km (171 mi)
E from epicenter
San Francisco

Morazán, El Salvador.
283 km (176 mi)
NNE from epicenter
Poptún

Petén, Guatemala.
285 km (177 mi)
NE from epicenter
Puerto Barrios

Izabal, Guatemala.
311 km (193 mi)
ESE from epicenter
La Unión

La Unión, El Salvador.
318 km (198 mi)
E from epicenter
La Paz

La Paz, Honduras.
322 km (200 mi)
ENE from epicenter
San Pedro Sula

Cortés, Honduras.
324 km (201 mi)
E from epicenter
Comayagua

Comayagua, Honduras.
338 km (210 mi)
ENE from epicenter
El Progreso

Yoro, Honduras.
350 km (217 mi)
E from epicenter
San Lorenzo

Valle, Honduras.
368 km (229 mi)
E from epicenter
Tegucigalpa

Francisco Morazán, Honduras.
380 km (236 mi)
ESE from epicenter
Ciudad Choluteca

Choluteca, Honduras.
382 km (237 mi)
NNE from epicenter
San Ignacio

Cayo, Belize.
388 km (241 mi)
ENE from epicenter
Tela

Atlántida, Honduras.
389 km (242 mi)
NNW from epicenter
Tenosique

Tabasco, Mexico.
Cities and Towns around the epicenter of this earthquake.

Earthquake Intensity Map

The maximum intensity (MMI Scale) caused by this earthquake is V. The map below shows in which areas this earthquake was the most and least impactful. It is based on data from the US Geographic Survey.

I Not felt
II Weak
III Weak
IV Light
V Moderate
VI Strong
VII Very Strong
VIII Severe
IX Violent
X Extreme
Earthquake Intensity Map based on Shakemap Data provided by USGS.

Shaking reported by 353 people in 4 countries

People that feel an earthquake may report their experience to the US Geographic Survey. Currently, 353 people have reported shaking in 69 places in 4 countries (El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico).We keep updating this article as more ground reports become available. You may report that you felt this earthquake here.

Places with most reports:

  • Santa Catarina Pinula, Guatemala, Guatemala: 76 people.
  • Antigua Guatemala, Sacatepéquez, Guatemala: 66 people.
  • Guatemala, Guatemala, Guatemala: 21 people.
  • Mixco, Guatemala, Guatemala: 19 people.
  • Panajachel, Sololá, Guatemala: 17 people.
  • Antiguo Cuscatlán, La Libertad, El Salvador: 14 people.
  • San José Pinula, Guatemala, Guatemala: 9 people.
  • San Juan la Laguna, Sololá, Guatemala: 7 people.
  • Villa Nueva, Guatemala, Guatemala: 6 people.
  • Fraijanes, Guatemala, Guatemala: 6 people.

Aftershocks detected

This main shock was prefaced by 1 smaller foreshock. Nearby this earthquake a foreshock struck 18 hrs earlier. It measured a magnitude of 3.6

Overview of foreshocks and aftershocks

Classification Magnitude When Where
Foreshock M 3.6 18 hrs earlier
Jan 26, 2024 05:44AM (Guatemala Time)
97 km (61 mi)
E from Main Shock.
Main Shock
This Earthquake
M 6.1 Jan 26, 2024 11:52PM
(Guatemala Time)
-
Detected MAG2.5+ earthquakes within within 100km (62 mi), that occurred in the three days before and after the main shock.

More earthquakes coming?

Earthquakes can create aftershocks. These are generally at least 1 magnitude lower than any main shock, and as time passes the chance and strength of aftershocks decreases.

The chance that a significant earthquake like this one is followed by an even larger earthquake is not so large. On average, scientists estimate a 94% chance that a major earthquake will not be followed by an even larger one. It is still adviced to be aware of this risk

Read: How to Stay Safe during an Earthquake (cdc.gov).

Earthquakes like this are common in the region

Earthquakes of this strength occur quite regularly in the region. This is the strongest earthquake to hit since May 17th, 2023, when a 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit 118 km (73 mi) further north. An even stronger magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck on June 14th, 2017.

In total, 10 earthquakes with a magnitude of 6.1 or higher have been registered within 300km (186 mi) of this epicenter in the past 10 years. This comes down to an average of once every year.

Tsunami very unlikely

DISCLAIMER: We strongly suggest to closely monitor advice from local authorities with regards to tsunami risks. Our analysis is based on automatically collected data from external sources, and these might contain mistakes. In addition, earthquakes can cause landslides that may lead to a tsunami, or be a followed by another, potentially stonger, earthquake.

While MAG-6.5+ earthquakes may cause tsunami's, it appears that the epicenter of this earthquake hit under land. In addition, the reported depth is deeper than 100km, making the risk of a tsunami even less likely. However always stay cautious and monitor advice from local authorities.

Tsunami Risk Factors

Factor Under Sea? MAG-6.5 or stronger? Shallow depth?
Explanation Almost all tsunami's are caused by earthquakes with their epicenter under sea or very near the sea. However stay cautious in coastal areas as earthquakes on land may cause landslides into sea, potentially still causing a local tsunami. Under MAG 6.5: Very unlikely to cause a tsunami.
MAG 6.5 to 7.5: Destructive tsunami's do occur, but are uncommon. Likely to observe small sea level changes.
MAG 7.6+: Earthquakes with these magnitudes might produce destructive tsunami's.
Most destructive tsunami's are caused by shallow earthquakes with a depth between 0 and 100km under the surface of the earth. Deeper tsunami's are unlikely to displace to ocean floor.
This Earthquake This earthquake appears to have struck on land near a coastal area (16 km from the sea). Not this earthquake.
This earthquake had a magnitude of 6.1. Earthquakes of this strength are unlikely to trigger a tsunami.
This earthquake occurred at a depth of of 90 km (56 mi). Earthquakes this shallow could trigger a tsunami.

Sources

Last updated 03/03/24 01:48 (). This article is automatically generated based on available data. We keep checking multiple sources for additional information. This article gets updated as new details on this earthquake become available.

  1. US Geographic Society (USGS): Earthquake us7000luai
  2. European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC): Earthquake 20240127_0000075
  3. Geonames.org: World Cities Database
  4. Google Maps: Static API
  5. Earthquakelist.org: Historic Earthquakes Database

Share this article: Share on Facebook Tweet Submit to Reddit Share on LinkedIn