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October 2014



A magnitude 6.2 earthquake struck off the coast of Mexico (October 8, 2014), between San Jose del Cabo and El Dorado in the Gulf of California (Sea of Cortez). Located atop three large tectonic plates, Mexico is one of the most seismically active regions in the world. The relative motion of these crustal plates causes frequent earthquakes and occasional volcanic eruptions.

The site of several advanced Amerindian civilizations - including the Olmec, Toltec, Teotihuacan, Zapotec, Maya, and Aztec - Mexico was conquered and colonized by Spain in the early 16th century. Administered as the Viceroyalty of New Spain for three centuries, it achieved its independence early in the 19th century. The elections held in 2000 marked the first time since the 1910 Mexican Revolution that an opposition candidate - Vicente Fox of the National Action Party (PAN) - defeated the party in government, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). He was succeeded in 2006 by another PAN candidate Felipe Calderon, but Enrique Pena Nieto regained the presidency for the PRI in 2012.

The climate of Mexico varies from tropical to desert; its terrain contains high, rugged mountains, low coastal plains, high plateaus, and desert. The hazards facing Mexico include: tsunamis along the Pacific coast, volcanoes and destructive earthquakes in the center and south, as well as hurricanes on the Pacific, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean coasts. The natural resources of Mexico include: petroleum, silver, copper, gold, lead, zinc, natural gas, and timber.

CIA World Factbook, 6/2014

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