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Series of quakes hit Mexico: What's going on?

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Alejandro Dias/Reuters

(Read caption) People gather on Paseo de la Reforma avenue, after being evacuated from their buildings following an earthquake in Mexico City on April 11.

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Yesterday, at my favorite taco stand, a woman who cleans houses in the neighborhood struck up a conversation with the vendor. "I keep thinking I am dizzy, that the earth is shaking," she said. He nodded in agreement. "Ah, that earthquake," he said.

By now, weeks after the March 20 earthquake rattled Mexico City with a magnitude of 7.4 – the strongest the city has felt since a devastating 1985 quake that killed thousands – most residents here would have forgotten the temblor that struck just after noon, swaying buildings and sending residents into the streets. There were two deaths and plenty of damage, a reminder of how seismically vulnerable we all are.

But the quakes haven't seemed to stop, becoming a reoccurring conversation topic at taco stands, gyms, hair salons, parks, and water coolers across the city.

In fact, just four hours after the woman, munching on a taco of hard boiled egg and rice, complained of her imagined dizzy spells the earth shook again. Yesterday, a 6.4 magnitude quake struck western Mexico, and caused Mexico City, 200 miles away, to rattle. It is the fourth earthquake or aftershock of a magnitude over 6.0 to impact the city in four months. (Separately a 6.9 quake hit the waters of northern Mexico last night at 12:15 a.m.)

What is going on? This is what people are wondering: Is it just random? Does it mean the earth is releasing tension, meaning a mega quake like the 1985 one is less likely? Or is it the prelude to something bigger? Some have even joked on social media that this is a sign that the Mayan calendar slating 2012 as the end of the world, according to some beliefs, is actually true. Most of all – we all want to know – when are we going to start feeling like we live on stable ground again?

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