No, Estadio Azteca was not severely damaged by the Mexico earthquake

Henry Bushnell
(Photo: Emilio León on Twitter)

Several reports that Estadio Azteca has been damaged by the devastating earthquake that shook Mexico on Tuesday appear to be false.

Pictures of the famous stadium circulated on Twitter Tuesday afternoon in the wake of the 7.1-magnitude quake:


A video showed the stadium trembling:


However, what looks like a crack is simply part of the structure of the stadium. It is a junta constructiva, as many Spanish-speaking journalists put it, a constructive joint. It is also referred to as an expansion joint.

The stadium is built with such a design to avoid collapse during an earthquake or landslide. The expansion joints absorb the shock, vibrations, and expansion and contraction of the stadium’s materials during quakes. That’s why Azteca is shaking in the above video – its structure allows it to shake so as to prevent fissures or cracks.

ESPN’s León Lecanda confirmed that engineers had conducted a review of the stadium and found no major damages, only minor ones. Horacio de la Vega, Mexico City’s general director of sport, also reported no major damages to prominent stadiums, including Azteca.

The earthquake did force officials to postpone the Copa MX match between Club America and Cruz Azul scheduled to be played at Azteca on Tuesday night. The other three Copa MX quarterfinals scheduled for Tuesday night were also postponed.

Azteca is the site of every meaningful Mexican national team game, and is the only stadium in the world that has hosted two World Cup finals – the 1970 and 1986 editions. It has also hosted other major sporting events, and will host an NFL game between the New England Patriots and Oakland Raiders on Nov. 19.

Azteca is located in the south of Mexico City. The 7.1-magnitude earthquake hit the state of Puebla, with the epicenter about 76 miles southeast of Mexico City. The Mexican capital suffered significant damage, with buildings crumbling and power knocked out. More than 100 people have been killed, according to authorities.

More coverage of the earthquake can be found here.

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Henry Bushnell covers soccer – the U.S. national teams, the Premier League, and much, much more – for FC Yahoo and Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Question? Comment? Email him at henrydbushnell@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @HenryBushnell.