MEXICO CITY — A powerful earthquake jolted Mexico City on Tuesday, causing buildings to sway sickeningly on the anniversary of a 1985 quake that did major damage to the capital.
The extent of damage or injuries was not immediately clear, but people fled office buildings along the central Reforma Avenue.
The U.S. Geological Survey said quake was magnitude 7.1, and the epicenter was near the town of Raboso, about 76 miles southeast of Mexico City.
Mexico’s seismological agency calculated its preliminary magnitude at 6.8 and said its center was east of the city in the state of Puebla.
Earlier in the day buildings across the city held preparation drills on the anniversary of the 1985 quake.
On Mexico City’s main boulevard, thousands of people streamed out of buildings into the streets in a panic, filling the plaza around the Independence Monument with a mass of people.
Traffic came to a standstill, as masses of workers blocked streets. Clouds of dust rose from fallen pieces of facades.
Office workers hugged each other to calm themselves. Pictures fell from walls and objects were shaken off of flat surfaces. Some people dove for cover under desks.
In the city’s Roma neighborhood, which was struck hard by the 85 quake, small piles of stucco and brick fallen from building facades littered the streets.
Two men calmed a woman, blood trickling form a small wound on her knee, seated on a stool in the street, telling her to breathe deeply.
At a nearby market, a worker in a hard hat walked around the outside of the building, warning people not to smoke as a smell of cooking gas filled the air.
Market stall vendor Edith Lopez, 25, had been in a taxi a few blocks away when the quake struck. She said she saw glass bursting out of the windows of some buildings.