Boletín de la Sociedad Geológica Mexicana

Volumen 73, núm. 2, A161220, 2021


Evidencias paleosísmica y arqueosísmica de la simbología Posclásica Tardía P’urhepecha en Michoacán (México). ¿Primeras señalizaciones sísmicas de la historia?


Paleoseismic and archeoseismic evidence of the Late Postclassic P’urhepecha symbols in Michoacán (Mexico). First historical seismic signaling?


Miguel Ángel Rodríguez-Pascua 1,*, Víctor Hugo Garduño-Monroy 2, †, Isabel Israde-Alcántara2,

María Ángeles Perucha1, Raúl Pérez-López 1, Jorge Luis Giner-Robles 3, Nieves Sánchez Jiménez4


Instituto Geológico y Minero de España (IGME). Ríos Rosas, 23. 28003 Madrid, España.

Instituto de Investigaciones en Ciencias de la Tierra, Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo, Morelia, México.

Departamento de Geología y Geoquímica, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Ciudad Universitaria de Canto­blanco s/n, 28049 Madrid, España.

Instituto Geológico y Minero de España (IGME). Unidad de Canarias. C/ Alonso Alvarado, 43, 2ºA. 35019, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, España.

En memoria.


* Autor para correspondencia: (M. Rodríguez- Pascua) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


How to cite this article:

Rodríguez-Pascua, M.A., Garduño- Monroy,V.H., Israde-Alcánta, I., Perucha, M.A., Pérez-López,R., Giner-Robles, J. L., Sánchez Jiménez, N., 20201, Evidencias paleosísmica y arqueosísmica de la simbología Posclásico Tardía P’urhepecha en Michoacán (México). ¿Primeras señalizaciones sísmicas de la historia?: Boletín de la Sociedad Geológica Mexicana, 73 (2), A161220.



The pre-Hispanic Mesoamerican cultures of the Mexican highlands, and specifically the P’urepecha and Aztec empires (Late Post-Classic Period, 1300 - 1500 AD), experienced great destructive earthquakes that left a mark on their society and determined both their spiritual rites and their urbanism. This paper studies several paleoearthquakes that the P’urepechas experienced in Lake Pátzcuaro, using paleosismology techniques, as well as the existence of large basaltic blocks associated with their religious rites appearing in the hanging wall of two large surface ruptures of coseismic origin (normal faults) that affected the geography of the lake itself. Paleoseoseismic studies suggest that several earthquakes of magnitude between M 6.5 and M 7 occurred with fault surface rupture and probably with a migration from the lake shore. In addition, these studies show that these earthquakes have been occurring since the Preclassic period (3000 BP). Later, the P’urepechas placed two large basalt blocks of more than 1 m3 in volume over the hanging wall of these faulting ruptures and carved their surface for spiritual purposes. In later times during the Spanish conquest, a large Maltese-style Christian cross was carved, which would correspond to the process of Christian evangelization throughout the 16th century in the area of Michoacán, thus reinforcing the spiritual significance of these blocks. In any case, we are facing one of the oldest human manifestations of the effects of earthquakes on ancestral cultures.

Keywords: P’urepecha Civilization, paleoearthquake, paleoseismology, seismic signalization.