Abstract

The A.D. 1567 Ameca, Jalisco, earthquake (west‐central Mexico) is the strongest known historical crustal earthquake in the Trans‐Mexican volcanic belt, an active volcanic arc being deformed by an intra‐arc extensional fault network. The location of the surface rupture at the base of the Sierra de Ameca mountain range, its length (13–14 leagues, 54–59 km) and the scarp height (1–2 estados, 1.67–3.34 m) are inferred from the description of this earthquake in the Relación de Ameca of 1579, which contains what is probably the earliest documentation of an earthquake surface rupture in the Americas. From scaling relations, the moment magnitude of this earthquake can be estimated as 7.2±0.3, based on the rupture length. The A.D. 1567 Ameca earthquake is likely to have ruptured to the surface along two (or all three) major segments of the Ameca–San Marcos normal fault system.

Online Material: Excerpts from five historical documents related to the 1567 Ameca earthquake.

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