On September 7 2017, was reported an earthquake with a magnitude of 8.2 in Southern Mexico. This earthquake was not predicted and broke a tectonic plate of the earth. Scientists called this quake as The Tehuantepec.
The Tehuantepec hit off the coast of Mexico’s Chiapas state where one hundred people died and many others got seriously injured.
It is believed that the earthquake had place where the Cocos ocean plate is subducted by a continental plate. However, the epicenter of the Megaquake appeared 28 miles deep in the Cocos plate. Scientists estimated in a report another model of the earthquake in the journal Nature Geoscience. The power of the earthquake broke into parts the Cosos plate which released a huge amount of energy.
The lead author of the study is Diego Melgar and reported that the plate broke completely like a slab of glass cracked it.
The Sanriku earthquake from Japan that had place in 1933 created a tsunami 94 foot long that got 1,522 people killed and damaged homes. It happened in the subduction zone of the plates exactly as the Tehuantepec. So scientists believe that they tend to occur where the zone is cooler and far from a plate’s boundary.
Melgar, an assistant professor of earthquake seismology at the University of Oregon reported that the subducting plate was too young and had a warm temperature to break so easily. The team blames it on the seawater that sped up the cooling process so it could not take the tension of the earthquake.
The U.S. West Coast and Central America are zones with a big exposure to tension earthquakes.
“Our knowledge of these places where large earthquakes happen is still imperfect. We can still be surprised. We need to think more carefully when we make hazard and warning maps. We still need to do a lot of work to be able to provide people with very accurate information about what they can expect in terms of shaking and in terms of tsunami hazard.” Melgar explained.