Skip to main content

Mexico Earthquake Zone Spotted in Satellite Photo

mexico earthquake satellite view
This visible image from NOAA's GOES-13 satellite was captured at 1815 UTC (2:15 p.m. EST), just 13 minutes after the 7.6 magnitude earthquake centered in southwestern Mexico's Oaxaca state. The image, created at NASA, shows a virtually cloud-free sky over that region. (Image credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project)

A satellite orbiting Earth snapped a clear view of Mexico from space today (March 20), just minutes after a major earthquake struck the country's southwestern region.

The GOES-13 satellite image shows Mexico as it appeared at 2:15 p.m.  EST (1815 GMT), only 13 minutes after a 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck the country, though initial reports set it at a 7.6 magnitude, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The satellite photo of Mexico shows the country under a nearly cloudless sky, NASA officials said.

"The epicenter of the quake was in the Oaxaca Region of Mexico," NASA spokesman Rob Gutro at the agency's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., wrote in a statement. "The epicenter was located 25 km (15 miles) east of Ometepec, Guerrero; 42 km (26 miles) north-northwest of Pinotepa Nacional, Oaxaca; and 186 km (115 miles) east of Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico."

The powerful quake set buildings swaying in Mexico's capital of Mexico City 200 miles away and was followed by a strong 5.1 magnitude aftershock, according to press reports.

The earthquake's center was located about 12.4 miles (20 km) underground, according to a USGS update. 

Oaxaca is one of Mexico's 31 states and can be seen in the lower center of the GOES-13 photo with the Pacific Ocean below.

The GOES-13 satellite is operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NASA's GOES Project at the Goddard Space Flight Center created the new photo of Mexico using the satellite's data.

This story was provided by, a sister site to LiveScience. Follow for the latest in space science and exploration news on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook. Staff is the premier source of space exploration, innovation and astronomy news, chronicling (and celebrating) humanity's ongoing expansion across the final frontier. We transport our visitors across the solar system and beyond through accessible, comprehensive coverage of the latest news and discoveries. For us, exploring space is as much about the journey as it is the destination.