WASHINGTON/MEXICO: A magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck off the coast of Oregon on Wednesday and was followed a minute later by a smaller quake off the coast of central California, the US Geological Survey said.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said the quakes were unlikely to trigger a tsunami. The Oregon quake was initially reported as a magnitude 6.2 and the California one as a 5.3. Both were later downgraded.
It was not immediately known whether the quakes caused any damage or casualties.
A strong earthquake struck a sparsely populated area in the mountains of western Mexico on Wednesday, and caused tall buildings to sway more than 200 miles away in Mexico City. People evacuated some buildings in the capital, but the city government said helicopter flights detected no signs of damage.
Authorities in Michoacan state, where the tremor was centered, also had no immediate reports of damage.
The US Geological Survey initially reported a preliminary reading of 7.0 magnitude for the quake, but later downgraded it to 6.5.
A quake of that magnitude is capable of producing severe damage in an urban area, but this one occurred about 65.6 kilometres below the surface and a tremor's power to cause damage is often dissipated when it is so deep.
The USGS said the tremor was centered in Michoacan state 384 kilometres west-southwest of Mexico City and 143 kilometres northwest of the Pacific resort of Zihuantanejo.
Mr Manuel Ortiz Rosete, the Michoacan state civil protection director, said no damage had been reported in major cities and coastal communities of the state.
Wednesday's tremor was the latest in a series of strong shakes to hit Mexico City since a powerful 7.4-magnitude quake hit southern Mexico three weeks ago, but this was not an aftershock of that one , USGS geophysicist Dale Grant said. "It's a different earthquake. We are calling it an individual earthquake," Grant said. "There's a potential for aftershocks."
Last month's big earthquake was felt strongly in the nation's capital, and it damaged hundreds of homes and killed at least two people near the border between Guerrero and Oaxaca states. Mexico's seismological service said that quake has been followed by close to 400 aftershocks, including one of magnitude 6.0.
A quake alert application for Blackberrys that Mexico City's government touted last week did not work Tuesday. The Mexico City Mayor, Mr Marcelo Ebrard said the alert system has been working for quakes centered in two southern states and will begin to work for any tremors in Michoacan in the next few days.