Massive Earthquake Hits Mexico for Third Time on Same Date


People remain in the street after an earthquake in Mexico City on September 19, 2022. Photo by Alfredo ESTRELLA / AFP via Getty.

MEXICO CITY — In what feels like a nightmarish repeat, an earthquake once again struck Mexico on Monday—the third time that a quake has hit Mexico on September 19.

The 7.4 Richter earthquake hit at 1:05 p.m., less than an hour after the annual earthquake drill went off in Mexico City to commemorate the 1985 quake. One person was reported to have died.

Similarly, in 2017, an earthquake struck just hours after the traditional drill, during which the entire city practices evacuating schools, homes and offices. That quake, registered at 7.1 on the Richter scale, resulted in the collapse of dozens of buildings and killed 370 people. 


The timing left many wondering whether it was divine intervention, unbelievable coincidence, or bad luck. September 19 will definitively go down in Mexican history as the date of the earthquakes: 1985, 2017 and now 2022. The 1985 quake killed an estimated 10,000 people, according to official figures, but unofficial tallies put the death toll at much higher. 

At least 30 percent of Mexican residents who lived through the 2017 quake have symptoms of post-traumatic stress, the newspaper Milenio reported, citing a study by the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

The epicenter of Monday’s earthquake was reported as Coalcoman, Michoacan, some 400 miles west of Mexico City. 

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador posted a video to Twitter of him talking on the phone to the governor of Michoacan, Alfredo Ramírez Bedolla, following the quake. In the call, López Obrador told the governor that he would be standing by for information to send whatever help necessary. Shortly after, he posted a second video confirming that one person had died in the neighboring state of Colima after a wall fell at a shopping center. 

In Mexico City, people ran out of their homes and apartment buildings, leaving their doors wide open, many shaking their heads in disbelief and fear. There were no immediate reports of deaths or serious damage in the city.

Earthquakes have become synonymous with September in Mexico, with quakes also shaking the country on September 7 in both 2017 and 2021. 

The eerie similarities have brought out the country’s dark humor as memes flooded the internet shortly after. One noted the fact that the earthquake happened on the same day as the 2017 and 1985 quakes with a photo of Regina George from the classic 2000s movie Mean Girls, with the date of September 19 seemingly asking earthquakes, “Why are you so obsessed with me?”

Another Tweeted the photo of Tom Holland, Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire imitating the meme of Spiderman pointing at each other, but this time with the dates of the three September 19 quakes above their heads. 

In the weeks leading up to September 19, a joke lottery ticket was shared among small groups of people in Mexico City asking them to bet on what day in September they thought a quake would strike, at what scale, and where the epicenter would be.

This story is being updated as news develops.


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