2012 Guatemala earthquake

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

2012 Guatemala earthquake
Eartquake Guatemala 2012.jpg
2012 Guatemala earthquake is located in Guatemala
2012 Guatemala earthquake
Guatemala City
Guatemala City
San Marcos
San Marcos
UTC time2012-11-07 16:35:45
ISC event601879562
Local dateNovember 7, 2012 (2012-11-07)
Local time10:35:45
Magnitude7.4 Mw
Depth24.1 kilometres (15 mi)[1]
Epicenter13°59′13″N 91°57′54″W / 13.987°N 91.965°W / 13.987; -91.965Coordinates: 13°59′13″N 91°57′54″W / 13.987°N 91.965°W / 13.987; -91.965[1]
Areas affectedGuatemala
Max. intensityVII (Very strong) [1]
Casualties39 killed[2]

The 2012 Guatemala earthquake occurred on November 7 at 10:35:45 local time. The shock had a moment magnitude of 7.4 and a maximum Mercalli Intensity of VII (Very strong). The epicenter was located in the Pacific Ocean, 35 kilometres (22 mi) south of Champerico in the department of Retalhuleu.[1] The region is one of many earthquakes, where the Cocos Plate is being subducted along the Middle America Trench beneath the North American and the Caribbean Plates, near their triple junction.[3]

The quake was reportedly felt in Guatemala and in parts of Mexico, El Salvador, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.[4] Damage to buildings was reported in several cities in Guatemala, including San Marcos, Quetzaltenango and the capital Guatemala City.[5] The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a warning about the possibility of a local tsunami within 100 to 200 miles (160 to 320 km) of the epicenter.[6]

With 39 dead, this is the most intense and deadliest earthquake that has hit Guatemala since the earthquake of 1976.[2][7][8]

Damage and casualties by country[edit]


San Marcos, Quetzaltenango, Sololá, Totonicapán, Quiché and Huehuetenango were the hardest hit departments.[9][10] Preliminary reports mention a death toll of at least 42 in Guatemala, of which 29 in San Marcos, 11 in Quetzaltenango, and 2 in Sololá.[5][11] According to the minister of energy of Guatemala, the earthquake left 73,000 households without power.[12] The Guatemalan president initially declared a 30-day "state of calamity" in the departments of Retalhuleu, Sololá, Totonicapán, San Marcos, Quetzaltenango, Quiché and Huehuetenango.[10][13] The "state of calamity" was subsequently prolonged until being revoked on July 25, 2013.[14][15] In Guatemala, as of November 11, 9,414 houses were found damaged, and 18,755 people were evacuated, 7,218 of which stayed in 61 refuges.[2][16] The Pan-American Highway in Guatemala (CA-1) was damaged.[17]

Finite fault model of the earthquake
Heavy damage to buildings in San Marcos, Guatemala
Damaged buildings in the city of San Marcos, a few seconds after the earthquake

There were collapsed buildings and reported deaths and injuries in San Marcos. Accounts of deaths and injuries in San Marcos were initially difficult to confirm due to communication interruption and roads blocked by landslides.[18] Many people in San Marcos, fearing possible aftershocks, gathered on the cold and dark streets.[19] At least 50 houses were damaged in El Quetzal, 9 of which no longer inhabitable, and the dwellers had to take refuge in the community public school.[20][21] More than 300 people stayed in 10 refuges in the department.[19] Lack of water in the refuges in San Pedro Sacatepéquez and San Marcos due to the collapse of piping caused preoccupations about the sanitary conditions.[22]

Eight people were buried in a landslide in Concepción Chiquirichapa. Ten deaths were reported in Quetzaltenango department.[23] 156 houses were damaged in Quetzaltenango Department, and government buildings in Quetzaltenango City (Xela) were slightly damaged.[24]

Retalhuleu, situated in the south, is close to the epicenter. The Departmental Palace of Retalhuleu, a historical building, was damaged, which caused the government offices therein to be relocated.[25]

Sololá reported the most damaged houses with number of 4,756, followed by 3,870 in San Marcos.[17]

Cracks were reported in Palacio Nacional de la Cultura in Guatemala City, a former government seat built between 1939 and 1943.[26]

Some houses of the coffee growers were damaged. No major damage was reported for agricultural products such as coffee, vegetables and potatoes.[27]


Minor damage was reported in the state of Chiapas, which neighbors Guatemala. In Chiapas, public buildings were evacuated, and telephone and internet services were interrupted.[28] Over a dozen of buildings in Chiapas had minor fissures; the city hall of Tapachula, the installations of the Desarrollo Integral de la Familia, along with a school in Ciudad Hidalgo, were among the places affected.[29]

In the state of Oaxaca, several aftershocks of the earthquake were felt throughout various communities.[30][31] The quake was also felt in the states of Campeche, Guerrero, Michoacán, Morelos, Puebla and Tabasco.[32]

In Mexico City, workers rushed to the streets from the office buildings, and no major damage was reported.[7][33]

El Salvador[edit]

In El Salvador, many urban dwellers evacuated their homes in the capital city, but there were no reports of any damage.[34]


Nicaragua emitted a tsunami alert after the quake and alerted several communities along the coastlines to mobilize to higher altitudes.[35]

Relief and reconstruction[edit]

The minister of finance of Guatemala expressed that 800 million quetzales were ready for covering emergent needs due to the earthquake. The Ministry of Health of Guatemala assigned 1 million quetzales to the hospital of San Marcos and dispatched two trucks with medicines.[9] In Guatemala City, various organizations collected donated provisions for people affected by the earthquake.[36] The minister of interior announced a fund of 25 million quetzales for the reconstruction of damaged police stations, prisons, and government buildings.[37]

The United States Ambassador to Guatemala announced to offer 50,000 USD to Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres (CONRED) for immediate humanitarian help. The United States and Taiwan would offer 110,000 USD in total as economical support. The Inter-American Development Bank would offer 200,000 USD. Various countries offered to provide help in personnel or matter, including Venezuela and Chile.[38] World Food Programme offered 72 tonnes of emergency food aid.[39]

On November 9, the authorities started the evaluation of the damaged houses in San Marcos and San Pedro Sacatepéquez to decide which to be repaired and which to be demolished and rebuilt.[40] The reconstruction in San Marcos had started on November 27.[41] It was estimated that the reconstruction of the houses could need at least a year.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "M7.4 - 35km S of Champerico, Guatemala". United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
  2. ^ a b c [1]
  3. ^ See legend in map.
  4. ^ "Guatemala: 48 muertos y 23 desaparecidos deja terremoto". La Prensa (Honduras) (in Spanish). 7 November 2012. Archived from the original on February 17, 2013. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Guatemala earthquake kills dozens in mountain villages". BBC News. 8 November 2012. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
  6. ^ Perez Diaz, Sonia (7 November 2012). "Guatemala Earthquake 2012: USGS Reports Strong Quake". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
  7. ^ a b Fausset, Richard (7 November 2012). "7.4 earthquake kills at least 39 in Guatemala". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
  8. ^ "Sube a 52 la cifra de muertos en Guatemala". El Universal (in Spanish). 8 November 2012. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
  9. ^ a b Rojas, Alex (8 November 2012). "Terremoto centra daños en el occidente del país". Prensa Libre (in Spanish). Retrieved 8 November 2012.
  10. ^ a b Lara, Julio (8 November 2012). "Presidente confirma estado de Calamidad por terremoto". Prensa Libre (in Spanish). Guatemala City. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
  11. ^ "Sube a 52 cifra de muertos por terremoto en Guatemala". Milenio (in Spanish). 8 November 2012. Archived from the original on 3 January 2013. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
  12. ^ "Guatemala: 48 muertos y 23 desaparecidos deja terremoto" (in Spanish). LaPrensa.hn. Retrieved 11 November 2012.
  13. ^ Por Irene De León Prensa Libre.Com. "Publican estado de Calamidad y duelo nacional por terremoto". Prensalibre.com. Retrieved 11 November 2012.
  14. ^ [2]
  15. ^ [3]
  16. ^ [4]
  17. ^ a b c [5]
  18. ^ "Guatemala earthquake kills dozens". The Guardian. 7 November 2012. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
  19. ^ a b Lara, Julio (8 November 2012). "Remueven escombros y localizan más víctimas en San Marcos". Prensa Libre (in Spanish). Retrieved 8 November 2012.
  20. ^ Por Alexander Coyoy San Marcos. "Reportan 50 viviendas con daños en El Quetzal, San Marcos". Prensalibre.com. Retrieved 11 November 2012.
  21. ^ Por Alexander Coyoy San Marcos. "Damnificados en El Quetzal piden ayuda porque temen ser olvidados". Prensalibre.com. Retrieved 11 November 2012.
  22. ^ Por A. Marroquín. "Agua escasea en albergues". Prensalibre.com. Retrieved 2016-12-28.
  23. ^ Ventura, Carlos (8 November 2012). "Al menos diez personas mueren en Quetzaltenango por el sismo". Prensa Libre (in Spanish). Quetzaltenango. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
  24. ^ Hernández, Luis (8 November 2012). "Radiografía de la tragedia". El Quetzaltenango (in Spanish). Retrieved 8 November 2012.
  25. ^ Tizol, Jorge Germán (8 November 2012). "Sismo daña edificio histórico". Prensa Libre (in Spanish). Retrieved 8 November 2012.
  26. ^ [6]
  27. ^ Por Roxana Larios Y Byron Dardón. "Café reporta daños en su estructura". Prensalibre.com. Retrieved 11 November 2012.
  28. ^ Chávez, Hermes (7 November 2012). "Chiapas, sin pérdidas materiales y humanas tras sismo: PC". Milenio (in Spanish). Chiapas. Retrieved 8 November 2012.[permanent dead link]
  29. ^ Mariscal, Ángeles (8 November 2012). "Guatemala queda en "alerta roja" luego de terremoto de 7.2 grados". CNNMéxico (in Spanish). Retrieved 8 November 2012.
  30. ^ Rodríguez, Oscar (7 November 2012). "Realizan en Oaxaca recorridos de vigilancia tras sismo de 7.3". Milenio (in Spanish). Retrieved 8 November 2012.[permanent dead link]
  31. ^ "Un sismo de 7.3 grados remece el sur de México y Centroamérica". CNNMéxico (in Spanish). 7 November 2012. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
  32. ^ Mandujano, Isaín (7 November 2012). "Suman 39 muertos y más de 100 desaparecidos por sismo en Guatemala; en México, saldo blanco". Proceso (in Spanish). Retrieved 8 November 2012.
  33. ^ "No reportan daños en el DF tras sismo". El Informador (in Spanish). 7 November 2012. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
  34. ^ Ruiz Goiriena, Romina (8 November 2012). "Sismo Guatemala: Aumentan a 52 los muertos, cientos heridos". The Huffington Post (in Spanish). Retrieved 8 November 2012.
  35. ^ "Emite Nicaragua alerta de tsunami tras sismo en Guatemala". Milenio (in Spanish). Managua. 7 November 2012. Archived from the original on 28 January 2013. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
  36. ^ De León, Irene (8 November 2012). "Guatemaltecos organizan formas de ayudar a víctimas de terremoto". Prensa Libre (in Spanish). Retrieved 8 November 2012.
  37. ^ [7]
  38. ^ Por La Redacción. "Naciones envían ayuda a Guatemala". Prensalibre.com. Retrieved 11 November 2012.
  39. ^ "72 tonnes of food aid for quake-struck Guatemala: WFP | WFP | United Nations World Food Programme - Fighting Hunger Worldwide". WFP. Retrieved 2016-12-28.
  40. ^ Por Prensa Libre.Com Guatemala. "Autoridades derriban viviendas dañadas por el terremoto". Prensalibre.com. Retrieved 11 November 2012.
  41. ^ [8]

External links[edit]