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Mexico earthquake 2012: Acapulco, Mexico City feel 'strong, long quake'

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In past years, Guerrero has suffered several severe earthquakes, including a 7.9 in 1957 which killed an estimated 68 people, and a 7.4 in 1995 which left three dead.

(Photo: Associated Press)

Tuesday's quake was the strongest shaking felt in the capital since a magnitude-6.5 earthquake struck also in Guerrero in December. Officials said at least three people died in Guerrero, but there were no reports of widespread damage.

A magnitude-8.0 quake near Manzanillo on Mexico's central Pacific coast killed 51 people in 1995 and a magintude-7.5 quake killed at least 20 people in the southern state of Oaxaca in 1999.

In Huajuapan, Guerrero, near the epicenter, hotel manager Marco Antonio Estrada also reported shaken-up guests but no major damage. He said it was longest and strongest he ever felt.

People ran out of their homes and cars. "It was very strong, but we didn't see anything fall," said Irma Ortiz, who runs a guesthouse in Oaxaca.

She said their telephones are down, and that the quake shook them side-to-side.

The U.S. Geological Survey set the preliminary magnitude of the first quake at 7.4 and said the epicenter was 11 miles underground. The survey set the aftershock at 5.1. U.S. President Barack Obama's oldest daughter, Malia, was reported and safe while on vacation with a school group in Oaxaca.

Groups of women hugged and cried at Mexico City's Angel of Independence monument, where hundreds of people evacuated from office buildings said they never had felt such a strong earthquake.

Others typed ferociously on their Blackberries. Mexico City's airport was closed for a short time but there was no damage to runways and operations were returning to normal.

In Oaxaca, Sylvia Valencia was teaching Spanish to five adult students at the Vinigulaza language school when the earthquake hit. "Some of us sat down, others ran out," she said. "It was hard, it was strong and it was long."

After the shaking stopped, however, she said they found no damage, not in their own classrooms, nor outside in the historical center of the city, so they went back to class.

Celia Galicia, who works at the U.S. consular office in Oaxaca, had just flown in from Mexico City when it hit. She said there was panic in the airport, and a dash for the doors.

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