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Temblor jars Mexico; no damage
MEXICO CITY – A strong earthquake struck a sparsely populated area in the mountains of western Mexico on Wednesday, and caused tall buildings to sway more than 200 miles away in Mexico City. People evacuated some buildings in the capital, but the city government said helicopter flights detected no signs of damage.
Authorities in Michoacan state, where the 6.5-magnitude tremor was centered, also had no immediate reports of damage.
Associated Press
A woman checks her mobile phone as she and her baby evacuate to higher ground after two powerful earthquakes were felt in sections of Indonesia.

2 strong quakes rattle Indonesia

Panic but no tsunamis after memories jolted

– Cries of panic and fervent prayers rang out Wednesday as Indonesians rushed toward high ground after two strong earthquakes raised fears of a killer tsunami.

Alerts were raised as far away as Africa and Australia but this time the big waves didn’t come.

In western Indonesia, distraught women ran into the streets clinging to crying children as back-to-back tsunami warnings revived memories of the 2004 disaster that claimed 230,000 lives in nearly a dozen countries. Others screamed “God is great” as they poured from their homes or searched frantically for family members.

“God! What have we done to deserve this?” one mother screamed as residents around her piled into cars and onto the backs of motorcycles. “What sins have we committed?”

Two deadly tsunamis in the last decade – the most recent off Japan just one year ago – have left the world much better prepared.

Sirens sounded along coastlines and warnings spread like wildfire by mobile phone text messaging. Though often chaotic, evacuations began immediately, with streets clogged with traffic, especially in Aceh province, where 170,000 people were killed in 2004.

Patients were wheeled out of hospitals, some still lying in their beds with drips attached to their arms. And at least one hotel guest was slightly injured when he jumped out of his window.

Countries all along the Indian Ocean – from Australia and India to as far off as Africa – received alerts from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii saying they should prepare for the possibility of seismically charged waves.

Hour later, the tsunami warnings were lifted, and damage from the tremors was minimal – something experts attributed to the unique nature of the fault line.

Experts said both tremors were what are known as “strike slip” quakes, where friction and shaking along the fault line occurs horizontally, creating more of a vibration in the water.

In contrast, mega-thrust quakes – like the one that hit off Aceh in 2004 and off Japan just over a year ago – cause the seabed to rise or drop vertically, displacing massive amounts of water and sending towering waves racing across the ocean at jetliner speeds.

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