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7.2M Earthquake Slams South, Central Mexico

A woman embraces a boy during a powerful earthquake in Mexico City on February 16, 2018. Mexico's National Seismological Service put the magnitude of the quake at 7.0, and seismic monitor network Sky Alert said the quake was felt across the states of Guerrero, Oaxaca and Puebla. (PHOTO: YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

PASADENA (CBSLA) — Mexican leaders were assessing the damage left by the massive earthquake that rocked Mexico City and neighboring states to the south Friday evening.

Scientists said the temblor that hit the epicenter near Pinotepa in Oaxaca was a magnitude 7.2 quake.

No deaths were reported Friday, with structures incurring most of the damage. It's a marked difference from an earthquake in September that left over 300 people dead. That quake was 7.1 in magnitude.

Videos posted to social media show the panic Friday as overhead lamps swayed and people spilled out onto to the streets of Mexico City.

However, seismologists said this quake was not unexpected.

"Mexico has a lot of earthquakes because part of the Pacific Ocean is being pushed underneath the continent along the Mexican Coast," Dr. Lucy Jones, former seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, told reporters.

As for California, Jones said that the increasingly frequent tremors in Mexico make a quake on the San Andreas fault neither less likely nor more likely.

"Every year has a one to two percent chance of a San Andreas earthquake, and that's not changed by having this earthquake," Jones reiterated.

Friday's quake triggered Mexico's early earthquake warning system.

The U.S. has been on track to develop a prototype warning system by this year, but Jones said the president's budget has proposed eliminating all funding for the project.

"We were looking to be the first country that put in a system before we killed a lot of people. I'm beginning to wonder whether we're gonna need a big earthquake just like everyone else has," said Jones.

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