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International Recovery Platform

Mexico City Earthquake, 1985

Country Mexico
Location Mexico City

Brief Overview of the Disaster 
On September 19, 1985, at 7:19 a.m., Mexico City was struck by an earthquake that measured 8.1 on the Richter scale and lasted more than a minute and a half. The next day there were a number of lesser quakes, the strongest of which measured 7.8. The maximum horizontal acceleration was nearly 20 percent of gravity on a dominant two-second cycle. This ground movement resonant cycle coincided with the natural vibration period of the five to 12 story buildings that predominate in the city's dense historic center-making the earthquake one of the most destructive in the hemisphere's history. Poorly built tenements housing low-income families in overcrowded conditions suffered the worst damage.

Displaced 100,000
Dead 9,500
Missing Not specified
Housing Destroyed/Damaged Not specified
Total Damage and Losses ( in USD)
4,104 million
Note Total affected 2,130,204
Main Source
GLIDE No. EQ-1985-000003-MEX


Select recovery documents and publications.