Earthquake Strikes Costa Rica
September 5, 2012

Costa Rica Struck By 7.6 Magnitude Earthquake

Lee Rannals for - Your Universe Online

Costa Rica was rocked by a powerful, magnitude-7.6 earthquake this morning, but so far there have been no reports of major damage.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) said the earthquake struck about 38 miles from the town of Liberia, and 88 miles west of the capital, San Jose.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said in a post that a tsunami warning is in effect for Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala and Peru, while a tsunami watch is in effect for Chile.

"It is not known that a tsunami was generated. This warning is based only on the earthquake evaluation," the PTWC said in a statement. "An earthquake of this size has the potential to generate a destructive tsunami that can strike coastlines near the epicenter within minutes and more distant coastlines within hours."

Reports to the USGS came in all the way from El Salvador that they felt the ground shaking beneath them.

"Overall, the population in this region resides in structures that are vulnerable to earthquake shaking, though some resistant structures exist," the USGS said. "The predominant vulnerable building types are adobe block and mud wall construction."

So far, there are no reports of major damage, and phone lines and electricity is stable in the capital city.  The earthquake did knock down some houses, and landslides caused two roads to become blocked.

Douglas Salgado, a geographer with Costa Rica's National Commission of Risk Prevention and Emergency Attention, told the Associated Press that there is "chaos in San Jose" due to the long duration of the quake.

"It was pretty strong and caused collective chaos," he told the news agency.

He said officials were having problems accessing the earthquake zone, or reaching people there. Currently, they are flying over the area to assess the damage to highways.

Keep coming back to redOrbit for more updates about the magnitude-7.6 earthquake that hit Costa Rica.