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Strong earthquake shakes western Mexico

Officials: Extensive damage, casualties possible

Crowds gather outside evacuated buildings Tuesday night in Mexico City.

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MEXICO CITY, Mexico (CNN) -- A powerful earthquake with a 7.3 magnitude shook western Mexico on Tuesday, even rattling the capital, Mexico City, more than 300 miles away.

There were no immediate reports of injuries, but officials fear extensive damage and casualties are possible because of the quake's magnitude. Preliminary reports were still coming in, said Carlos Gelista, director of Mexico's emergency management agency.

An earthquake with a magnitude of more than 7.0 is capable of widespread, heavy damage.

A statement from the U.S. Geological Survey's National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colorado, said the quake was centered near the Pacific Coast in the state of Colima, about 30 miles east-southeast of the city of Manzanillo. It struck at 8:06 p.m. local time (9:06 p.m. EST).

The USGS said damage had been reported in the states of Colima, Michoacan and Jalisco, and warned that the quake "may have caused substantial damage and casualties due to its location and size."

In Mexico City, where Gelista lives, buildings swayed and residents gathered in the streets as a precaution against the possibility of collapse.

"It was a very, very strong earthquake, and we know what they feel like," he said.

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