Written by on . Last updated July 11th, 2024.

A strong MAG-6.4 earthquake struck in the North Pacific Ocean 55 kilometer from Tapachula, Mexico in the early morning of Sunday May 12th, 2024. Earthquakes like this can cause significant economic damage and have a significant risk at casualties. Other nearby countries are Guatemala and El Salvador.

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Earthquake Summary

This earthquake hit under water in the North Pacific Ocean, 24 kilometers (15 mi) off the coast of Mexico, 55 kilometer south-southwest of Tapachula in Chiapas. The center of this earthquake had a quite shallow depth of 54 km. Shallow earthquakes usually have a larger impact than earthquakes deep in the earth.

Date and Time: May 12, 2024 06:39 (Mexico City Time)
- May 12, 2024 11:39 Universal Time.
Location: 55 km SSW of Tapachula, Chiapas, Mexico.
Coordinates 14°27'8"N 92°27'26"W.
Map: Map of area around epicenter.
Map of area around epicenter. Click to open in Google Maps.
Magnitude: MAG 6.4
Detected by 111 stations. Maximum Error Range ±0.029 .
Depth: 54 km (33 mi)
A quite shallow depth.
Max. Intensity:
VII
Very Strong

On the Modified Mercalli Scale.
Tsunami Risk: Low tsunami risk
Earthquakes under MAG-6.5 do not usually cause tsunami's.
Always stay cautious - More info here.

Significant impact predicted

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

Some buildings damaged and landslides blocked roads in the Tapachula area. Some homes and a hospital damaged and landslides blocked roads in the Quetzaltenango-San Marcos area, Guatemala.

Based on scientific estimates by the USGS, the risk of high fatalities for this earthquake is classified at level YELLOW (significant). They expect an 35% likelyhood of between 10 and 100 fatalities, and a 98% chance that the number of fatalities falls no higher than 1,000.

The USGS classifies the economic impact of this earthquake at level YELLOW (significant). They expect an 35% likelyhood of between 1 and 10 million US Dollars in economic damage and impact, and a 91% chance that the economic impact of this earthquake falls no higher than 100 million USD.

Roughly 13 million people exposed to shaking

The USGS has published a report estimating the number of people exposed to this earthquake. Acoording to their analysis, roughly 13 million have been exposed to shaking at an MMI level of II or higher.

The highest earthquake impact level for this earthquake is VI, which corresponds with strong shaking and probably light damage. Roughly 992,100 people are expected to be exposed to this level. Intensity level IV was experienced by the majority of people (around 10 million). In their region, light shaking and likely no damage can be expected.

People in 2 countries have been exposed to shaking. In Guatemala , around 11 million people, with impact levels up to VI (strong shaking, probably light damage). In Mexico , around 2 million people.

People MMI Level Shaking Damage
0
I
Not noticable None
0
II
Very weak None
24,600
III
Weak Probably none
10,120,000
IV
Light Likely none
1,924,000
V
Moderate Very light
992,100
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

Mexico , Guatemala and El Salvador are all located within 300km distance of the epicenter of the earthquake. Futher away, this earthquake may also have been felt in Honduras.

Located 55 kilometer (34 mi) south-southwest of the epicenter of this earthquake, Tapachula (Chiapas, Mexico) is the nearest significant population center. The intensity of shaking and damage in Tapachula is estimated to be around level VI on the Modified Mercalli Intensity scale (strong shaking, probably light damage).

Major cities near this earthquake: Guatemala City is located 210 km to the east (intensity unknown, possibly low). Tapachula is located 55 km to the north-northeast and experienced an intensity of VI (strong shaking, probably light damage). Mixco is located 200 km to the east and experienced an intensity of IV (light shaking, likely no damage).

An overview of nearby towns and cities is available in the overview below. If places don't have intensity data available, it likely means the experienced impact in those places was fairly small.

Overview of nearby places

Distance Place Intensity (MMI)
55 km (34 mi)
NNE from epicenter
Tapachula

Chiapas, Mexico.
VI
Strong
68 km (42 mi)
NNE from epicenter
Cacahoatán

Chiapas, Mexico.
V
Moderate
70 km (43 mi)
ENE from epicenter
Coatepeque

Quetzaltenango, Guatemala.
V
Moderate
76 km (47 mi)
N from epicenter
Huixtla

Chiapas, Mexico.
V
Moderate
83 km (52 mi)
ENE from epicenter
Colomba

Quetzaltenango, Guatemala.
V
Moderate
84 km (52 mi)
E from epicenter
Retalhuleu

Retalhuleu, Guatemala.
V
Moderate
84 km (52 mi)
E from epicenter
Nuevo San Carlos

Retalhuleu, Guatemala.
V
Moderate
91 km (57 mi)
NE from epicenter
San Marcos

San Marcos, Guatemala.
V
Moderate
94 km (58 mi)
NE from epicenter
San Pedro Sacatepéquez

San Marcos, Guatemala.
IV
Light
97 km (60 mi)
ENE from epicenter
El Palmar

Quetzaltenango, Guatemala.
V
Moderate
101 km (63 mi)
ENE from epicenter
Ostuncalco

Quetzaltenango, Guatemala.
V
Moderate
103 km (64 mi)
E from epicenter
Mazatenango

Suchitepeque, Guatemala.
IV
Light
104 km (65 mi)
NE from epicenter
Comitancillo

San Marcos, Guatemala.
IV
Light
104 km (65 mi)
NNE from epicenter
Motozintla

Chiapas, Mexico.
V
Moderate
107 km (66 mi)
ENE from epicenter
La Esperanza

Quetzaltenango, Guatemala.
V
Moderate
109 km (68 mi)
E from epicenter
San Pablo Jocopilas

Suchitepeque, Guatemala.
IV
Light
110 km (68 mi)
ENE from epicenter
Quetzaltenango

Quetzaltenango, Guatemala.
IV
Light
115 km (71 mi)
ENE from epicenter
Cantel

Quetzaltenango, Guatemala.
IV
Light
119 km (74 mi)
NNW from epicenter
Mapastepec

Chiapas, Mexico.
V
Moderate
120 km (75 mi)
E from epicenter
Tiquisate

Escuintla, Guatemala.
V
Moderate
122 km (76 mi)
ENE from epicenter
San Francisco El Alto

Totonicapán, Guatemala.
IV
Light
122 km (76 mi)
E from epicenter
Chicacao

Suchitepeque, Guatemala.
IV
Light
128 km (80 mi)
ENE from epicenter
Totonicapán

Totonicapán, Guatemala.
IV
Light
130 km (81 mi)
ENE from epicenter
Nahualá

Sololá, Guatemala.
IV
Light
131 km (81 mi)
ENE from epicenter
Momostenango

Totonicapán, Guatemala.
IV
Light
134 km (83 mi)
E from epicenter
Santiago Atitlán

Sololá, Guatemala.
IV
Light
138 km (86 mi)
NNE from epicenter
Comalapa

Chiapas, Mexico.
IV
Light
142 km (88 mi)
ENE from epicenter
Sololá

Sololá, Guatemala.
IV
Light
143 km (89 mi)
NE from epicenter
Huehuetenango

Huehuetenango, Guatemala.
IV
Light
155 km (96 mi)
E from epicenter
Santa Lucía Cotzumalguapa

Escuintla, Guatemala.
IV
Light
155 km (96 mi)
ENE from epicenter
Chichicastenango

Quiché, Guatemala.
IV
Light
155 km (96 mi)
ENE from epicenter
Santa Cruz del Quiché

Quiché, Guatemala.
IV
Light
157 km (98 mi)
ESE from epicenter
La Gomera

Escuintla, Guatemala.
IV
Light
157 km (98 mi)
NNE from epicenter
Jacaltenango

Huehuetenango, Guatemala.
IV
Light
178 km (111 mi)
E from epicenter
Chimaltenango

Chimaltenango, Guatemala.
IV
Light
181 km (112 mi)
E from epicenter
Escuintla

Escuintla, Guatemala.
IV
Light
183 km (114 mi)
E from epicenter
Ciudad Vieja

Sacatepéquez, Guatemala.
IV
Light
186 km (116 mi)
E from epicenter
Antigua Guatemala

Sacatepéquez, Guatemala.
IV
Light
190 km (118 mi)
E from epicenter
Palín

Escuintla, Guatemala.
IV
Light
196 km (122 mi)
E from epicenter
Amatitlán

Guatemala, Guatemala.
IV
Light
197 km (122 mi)
E from epicenter
San Juan Sacatepéquez

Guatemala, Guatemala.
IV
Light
200 km (124 mi)
E from epicenter
Mixco

Guatemala, Guatemala.
IV
Light
202 km (126 mi)
E from epicenter
Villa Nueva

Guatemala, Guatemala.
IV
Light
203 km (126 mi)
N from epicenter
Comitán

Chiapas, Mexico.
IV
Light
204 km (127 mi)
E from epicenter
Petapa

Guatemala, Guatemala.
207 km (129 mi)
E from epicenter
Villa Canales

Guatemala, Guatemala.
210 km (130 mi)
E from epicenter
Guatemala City

Guatemala, Guatemala.
212 km (132 mi)
E from epicenter
Chinautla

Guatemala, Guatemala.
226 km (140 mi)
E from epicenter
Barberena

Santa Rosa, Guatemala.
241 km (150 mi)
ENE from epicenter
Salamá

Baja Verapaz, Guatemala.
246 km (153 mi)
E from epicenter
Sanarate

El Progreso, Guatemala.
251 km (156 mi)
ENE from epicenter
Cobán

Alta Verapaz, Guatemala.
254 km (158 mi)
N from epicenter
San Cristóbal de las Casas

Chiapas, Mexico.
266 km (165 mi)
NNW from epicenter
Tuxtla

Chiapas, Mexico.
266 km (165 mi)
E from epicenter
Jalapa

Jalapa, Guatemala.
276 km (171 mi)
E from epicenter
Jutiapa

Jutiapa, Guatemala.
288 km (179 mi)
E from epicenter
Ahuachapán

Ahuachapán, El Salvador.
306 km (190 mi)
ESE from epicenter
Sonsonate

Sonsonate, El Salvador.
316 km (196 mi)
E from epicenter
Santa Ana

Santa Ana, El Salvador.
316 km (196 mi)
E from epicenter
Chiquimula

Chiquimula, Guatemala.
320 km (199 mi)
E from epicenter
Zacapa

Zacapa, Guatemala.
351 km (218 mi)
WNW from epicenter
Salina Cruz

Oaxaca, Mexico.
353 km (219 mi)
ESE from epicenter
Santa Tecla

La Libertad, El Salvador.
357 km (222 mi)
ENE from epicenter
El Estor

Izabal, Guatemala.
363 km (226 mi)
ESE from epicenter
San Salvador

San Salvador, El Salvador.
383 km (238 mi)
E from epicenter
Chalatenango

Chalatenango, El Salvador.
386 km (240 mi)
NE from epicenter
San Benito

Petén, Guatemala.
389 km (242 mi)
ESE from epicenter
Cojutepeque

Cuscatlán, El Salvador.
396 km (246 mi)
N from epicenter
Villahermosa

Tabasco, Mexico.
397 km (247 mi)
E from epicenter
Santa Rosa de Copán

Copán, Honduras.
Cities and Towns around the epicenter of this earthquake.

Earthquake Intensity Map

The graph below overlays a map of the region around the epicenter with earthquake intensity data provided by the US Geographic Survey. The highest intensity level detected for this earthquake is VI.

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 158 people in 3 countries

People that feel an earthquake may report their experience to the US Geographic Survey. Currently, 158 people have reported shaking in 48 places in 3 countries (El Salvador, Guatemala, 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: 24 people.
  • Guatemala, Guatemala, Guatemala: 21 people.
  • Antigua Guatemala, Sacatepéquez, Guatemala: 18 people.
  • Panajachel, Sololá, Guatemala: 9 people.
  • Mixco, Guatemala, Guatemala: 8 people.
  • Antiguo Cuscatlán, La Libertad, El Salvador: 7 people.
  • San Juan la Laguna, Sololá, Guatemala: 5 people.
  • Olintepeque, Quezaltenango, Guatemala: 5 people.
  • Quetzaltenango, Quezaltenango, Guatemala: 4 people.
  • San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico: 4 people.

5 Aftershocks detected

This main shock was followed by 5 smaller aftershocks. A 4.3 magnitude earthquake hit 3 days later 62 km (38 mi) west-northwest of this earthquake.

In the days before this main shock, 5 smaller foreshocks were detected. Nearby this earthquake a foreshock struck 2 days earlier. It measured a magnitude of 4

Overview of foreshocks and aftershocks

Classification Magnitude When Where
Foreshock M 3.8 3 days earlier
May 9, 2024 14:32 (Mexico City Time)
71 km (44 mi)
W from Main Shock.
Foreshock M 3.7 2 days earlier
May 10, 2024 10:49 (Mexico City Time)
51 km (32 mi)
SSW from Main Shock.
Foreshock M 4.0 2 days earlier
May 11, 2024 05:43 (Mexico City Time)
99 km (61 mi)
NW from Main Shock.
Foreshock M 3.9 13 hrs earlier
May 12, 2024 05:04 (Mexico City Time)
35 km (21 mi)
SSW from Main Shock.
Foreshock M 3.7 12 hrs earlier
May 12, 2024 05:43 (Mexico City Time)
75 km (47 mi)
NW from Main Shock.
Main Shock M 4.4 May 12, 2024 18:00
(Mexico City Time)
-
Aftershock M 3.7 1 day later
May 14, 2024 05:04 (Mexico City Time)
66 km (41 mi)
SSE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 3.6 2 days later
May 14, 2024 16:45 (Mexico City Time)
70 km (44 mi)
N from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 3.8 2 days later
May 15, 2024 04:04 (Mexico City Time)
55 km (34 mi)
NNW from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.3 3 days later
May 15, 2024 14:35 (Mexico City Time)
62 km (38 mi)
WNW from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 3.9 3 days later
May 15, 2024 15:41 (Mexico City Time)
22 km (13 mi)
SW from Main Shock.
Detected MAG2.5+ earthquakes within within 100km (62 mi), that occurred in the three days before and after the main shock.

More earthquakes coming?

Aftershocks are usually at least 1 order of magnitude less strong than main shocks. The more time passes, the smaller the chance and likely strength of any potential aftershocks.

In only six percent of cases, significant earthquakes are followed by a larger main shock, making the current earthquake a foreshock. While the chance of this happening is not so large, it is adviced to maintain cautiousness in the hours and days following a major earthquake.

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 192 km (119 mi) further east-northeast. An even stronger magnitude 8.2 earthquake struck on September 8th, 2017.

In total, 8 earthquakes with a magnitude of 6.4 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.

Low tsunami risk

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.

Based on early data it appears this earthquake was not strong enough (lower than MAG-6.5) to be likely to cause destructive tsunami's. However this earthquake appeared to have hit at a shallow depth under sea, so 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 under the sea. Not this earthquake.
This earthquake had a magnitude of 6.4. Earthquakes of this strength are unlikely to trigger a tsunami.
This earthquake occurred at a depth of of 54 km (33 mi). Earthquakes this shallow could trigger a tsunami.

Sources

Last updated 11/07/24 06:08 (). As more information on this earthquake becomes available this article will be updated. This article is automatically composed based on data originating from multiple sources.

  1. US Geographic Society (USGS): Earthquake us6000my20
  2. European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC): Earthquake 20240512_0000092
  3. Geonames.org: World Cities Database
  4. Google Maps: Static API
  5. Earthquakelist.org: Historic Earthquakes Database

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