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In photos: The most powerful earthquake to strike Mexico since 1985

Click to play video: 'Magnitude 8.1 earthquake strikes off coast of Mexico' Magnitude 8.1 earthquake strikes off coast of Mexico
WATCH ABOVE: At least six people have died after a magnitude 8.1 earthquake struck off the coast of Mexico late on Thursday. – Sep 8, 2017

Mexico was hit by an 8.1-magnitude earthquake off its southern Pacific coast late Thursday night, that killed at least 32 people and could be felt up to 1,000 kilometres away.

Reports from the U.S. Geological Survey the quake’s epicentre was near the Guatemalan border. This marks the strongest earthquake Mexico has faced since 1985, and one of the most powerful quakes the region has faced in its history.

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The quake briefly cut power in an area where more than 1.8 million people live. Buildings were damaged and schools were closed across at least 11 states.

A monument surrounded by debris is cordoned off in the aftermath of an 8.1-magnitude earthquake in San Cristobal de Las Casas, state of Chiapas, Mexico, early Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Moyses Zuniga)
A policeman stands in front of a church whose towers were damaged by an 8.1-magnitude earthquake in San Cristobal de Las Casas, state of Chiapas, Mexico, early Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Moyses Zuniga)

The U.S. Geological Survey recorded at least 20 aftershocks of magnitude 4 or greater within approximately five hours after the main quake, and the president warned that a major aftershock as large as magnitude 7.2 could occur.

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Guillermo Lozano Leo, World Vision Mexico’s Humanitarian Emergency Affairs director, who is based in Mexico City, said, “This earthquake is one of the largest quakes we have ever felt. It struck at 11.49 p.m. [CT] and rattled much of the country despite being off the west coast. A tsunami warning has been issued with reports that waves could be as high as three metres.”
A couple looks at the damaged floor of their yard in Coatzacoalcos, in the Veracruz state of Mexico, after a 8.2 magnitude earthquake violently shook Mexico, early 08 September 2017. EPA/ANGEL HERNANDEZ
Civil Defense Forces members help residents in Tapachula, Mexico, after a 8.2 magnitude earthquake violently shook Mexico, early 08 September 2017. EPA/JOSE TORRES

This is the largest earthquake to hit Mexico since a massive quake struck the region in 1985. It killed approximately 5,000 people, though this quake is actually reported to be slightly bigger. Reports also indicate that Friday’s tremor matched the force of a magnitude 8.1 quake that hit Mexico in June of 1932, roughly 500 kilometres west of Mexico City.

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People in Mexico City, one of the world’s largest cities, ran out into the streets in pajamas and alarms sounded after the quake struck just before midnight.  Helicopters flew overhead minutes later, apparently looking for damage to buildings in the city, which is built on a spongy, drained lake bed.

READ MORE: 8.1-magnitude earthquake strikes off Mexican coast leaving at least 32 dead

“I had never been anywhere where the earth moved so much. At first, I laughed, but when the lights went out, I didn’t know what to do,” said Luis Carlos Briceno, an architect, 31, who was visiting Mexico City. “I nearly fell over.”

A family waits in the open in Coatzacoalcos, in the Veracruz state, Mexico, after a 8.2 magnitude earthquake violently shook Mexico, early 08 September 2017. EPA/ANGEL HERNANDEZ. EPA/ANGEL HERNANDEZ
Members from the Civil Defense Forces clean debris in Mexico City, Mexico, after a 8.2 magnitude earthquake violently shook Mexico, early 08 September 2017. EPA/ANGEL HERNANDEZ

Rodrigo Soberanes, who lives near the Chiapas state city of San Cristobal de la Casas, describes the tremors and the momentary power loss in his home to the Associated Press.

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“The house moved like chewing gum and the light and internet went out momentarily,” Soberanes sand.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said waves of one metre above the tide level were measured off Salina Cruz, Mexico. Smaller tsunami waves were observed on the coast or measured by ocean gauges in several other places. The centre’s forecast said Ecuador, El Salvador, and Guatemala could see waves of a metre or less. No threat was posed to Hawaii or the South Pacific.

Mexican authorities said they were evacuating some residents from the coastal towns of Tonala and Puerto Madero because of the warning.

Part of a destroyed wall is pictured after an earthquake in Mexico City, Mexico September 8, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso
Men work near a damaged wall and a vehicle after an earthquake in Mexico City, Mexico September 8, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso
A damaged wall and a smashed vehicle are pictured after an earthquake in Mexico City, Mexico September 8, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso
Patients and doctors of a hospital in Villahermosa, Mexico, remain in the open after a strong earthquake magnitude 8.4 on the open Richter scale violently shook Mexico, early 08 September 2017. EPA/str
Patients and doctors of a hospital in Villahermosa, Mexico, remain in the open after a strong earthquake magnitude 8.4 on the open Richter scale violently shook Mexico, early 08 September 2017. EPA/STR
Patients and doctors of a hospital in Villahermosa, Mexico, remain in the open after a strong earthquake magnitude 8.4 on the open Richter scale violently shook Mexico, early 08 September 2017. EPA/STR
People gather on a street in downtown Mexico City following an earthquake on September 7, 2017. Luis Perez/AFP/Getty Images
Members of the Mexican army look at damage caused by an earthquake in the Port of Veracuz on September 7, 2017. Victoria Razo/AFP/Getty Images
Debris from a collapsed wall sits in Oaxaca, Mexico, after an earthquake early Friday, Sept. 8, 2017.
Debris from a collapsed wall sits in Oaxaca, Mexico, after an earthquake early Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Luis Alberto Cruz)
A woman points at her damaged house in Coatzacoalcos, in the Veracruz state of Mexico, after a 8.2 magnitude earthquake violently shook Mexico, early 08 September 2017. EPA/ANGEL HERNANDEZ
Damages to a building following the strong earthquake magnitude 8.4 on the open Richter scale that violently shook Mexico in Oaxaca, Mexico, early Sept. 8, 2017. EPA/MARIO ARTURO MARTINEZ

— With files from Reuters and the Associated Press. 

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