Strong earthquake hits the Gulf of California, no tsunami alert

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A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.3 has struck the Gulf of California in northwest Mexico, but there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties. No tsunami warnings have been issued.

The earthquake, which struck at 9:17 a.m. local time on Friday, was centered about 78 kilometers (48 miles) northeast of Loreto, a city on the southern half of the Baja California peninsula, or 123 kilometers (77 miles) southwest of Ciudad Obregón in the Mexican state of Sonora.

Both the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Mexico’s Seismological Service (SSN) put the preliminary magnitude of Friday’s earthquake at 6.3, down from an initial estimate of 6.5. It struck at a depth of about 16 kilometers (10 miles), making it a very shallow earthquake.

Computer models from the USGS estimated that as many as 7.7 million people across the region may have felt weak to light shaking. “There is a low likelihood of casualties and damage,” the USGS said in its assessment.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said on Twitter that local authorities in the affected communities were carrying out checks, but added that there were no immediate reports of serious damage or casualties.

No tsunami warnings were issued by either Mexico or U.S. warning centers. “Based on earthquake information and historic tsunami records, the earthquake is not expected to generate a tsunami,” the U.S. National Tsunami Warning Center said in a bulletin.

Mexico sits on the so-called ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’, an arc of fault lines circling the Pacific Basin which is prone to frequent and large earthquakes. A powerful 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck central Mexico in September 2017, causing widespread damage and killing at least 370 people.

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