Barra de Navidad is a small Mexican tourist town on the coast of a lagoon that is buffered from the Pacific Ocean by a narrow strip of sand. The town is a favorite rest spot of American and Canadian tourists. On October 9, 1995, at 9:36 local time (1536 GMT), a strong earthquake that measured Mx = 8.0 disrupted the lives of the townspeople. The epicenter of the earthquake was located in the ocean at 18°51.5′N and 104°8.4′W [Ortiz and Synolakis, 1996], but it destroyed many hotels and homes, and the shifting of the land tore up the highway that connects Barra de Navidad and Manzanillo. Crevices of up to 3 m wide opened across the road, and bridges over small rivers were knocked down. In an instant, the town was disconnected from the outside world. Frightened townspeople roamed the streets, assessing the destruction.