A Powerful 7.4 Magnitude Earhtquake Struck Guatemala at 8:35AM Local Time.

November 7, 2012 A 7.4 Magnitude Earthquake Struck WSW of Guatemala City. Update Nov. 7th at 8:54PM Pacific, 11:54PM Eastern: The death toll in Guatemala’s earthquake has risen to 39 people and 155 others have been injured, President Otto Perez says. “We have to lament the death of 39 people. It is a tragedy,” Perez told reporters while touring the southwestern disaster area on Wednesday, raising the toll after preliminary reports of 15 deaths. The dead were found in six towns in San Marcos department, located at the border with Mexico and some 250km west of the Guatemalan capital. Twelve bodies were found in San Cristobal Cucho, eight in Esquipulas Palo Gordo and five in the city of San Marcos while the rest were found in the towns of La Reforma, San Pedro Sacatepequez and Quetzal. The 7.4-magnitude quake levelled 131 homes and injured 155 people in San Marcos department, Perez said. Authorities opened 11 shelters that can house 800 people. The US Geological Survey said the quake struck at 1635 GMT (0335 AEDT), with the epicentre located about 163km west-southwest of Guatemala City. The depth was 41.6km.

The quake hit at 8:35AM at the epicenter at a depth of 42 kilometers (26 miles). That is shallow enough and close enough to Guatemala City (see map) to cause major damage, including loss of life.

The quake struck at 4:35PM GMT (London). It was 24 kilometers (15 miles) south of Champerico, Guatemala.

This in from CBS News – Guatemala City: A magnitude-7.4 earthquake struck Guatemala Wednesday, rocking the capital and shaking buildings as far away as Mexico City and El Salvador, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

The quake’s epicenter was 26 miles deep, was centered off the town of Champerico. The Tsunami Warning Center said there is a small possibility of a very small, localized tsunami.

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