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Powerful Quake Off Mexico Triggers Warning of 10-Foot Tsunami Waves

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Powerful Quake Off Mexico Triggers Warning of 10-Foot Tsunami Waves

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A powerful 8.1-magnitude earthquake struck off the southern coast of Mexico early Friday, with officials warning it could trigger tsunami waves of up to 10 feet in height.

The temblor struck about 70 miles off the coast of Chiapas state, which is located near the border with Guatemala, at 12:49 a.m. ET.

Tsunami waves of 3.3 feet were observed at the southern Mexican city of Salina Cruz, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. Others of 2.3 feet were measured at the resort town of Huatulco.

Mexico Earthquake

The government agency warned that waves of up to 10 feet could hit other parts of Mexico.

Smaller waves of 3 feet could hit the coasts of nearly all Central American countries, including Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama, and reach as far away as Antarctica and New Zealand.

No tsunami waves were expected for California, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, British Columbia or Alaska, according to the Tsunami Warning Center.

Image: Mexico Earthquake

The U.S. Geological Survey initially estimated the magnitude at 8.0 before revising it to 8.1 The Mexican Seismological Agency rated it at magnitude 8.4.

"This is a large quake. I'm sure that it will be widely felt — and possibly damaging," said Randy Baldwin, a geophysicist with the USGS.

After the initial tremor, five aftershocks measuring magnitude 4.9 to 5.7 were recorded in the hour after the quake, the USGS said.

"The house moved like chewing gum and the light, and internet went out momentarily," Rodrigo Soberanes, who lives near San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas, a poor, largely indigenous state popular with tourists, told The Associated Press.

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