Today at 8:42 AM a earthquake hit Costa Rica and other parts of Central America. Some houses were destroyed by the force, highways were blocked, hospitals were crowed and at least one death has been attributed to the event (a man in Costa Rica one man died of a heart attack caused by fright), and general panic ensued. But because there was no major damage Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla asked for everyone to remain as calm as possible.
The epicenter was in the beach town of Cangrejal, local resident Jairo Zuniga, 27, said everything in his house fell when the quake first hit this morning. "It was incredibly strong. I've felt earthquakes, but this one was 'wow,' Jairo recounts. The earthquake occurred in a seismically active zone where the Pacific tectonic plate is diving beneath Central America. "All along the Pacific coast of Central America, you can expect fairly big earthquakes," said seismologist Daniel McNamara of the U.S. Geological Survey.
The quake was fairly deep — 25 miles below the surface. Deeper events tend to be less damaging than ones closer to the surface, but more widely felt.
In the beginning officials warned of a possible tsunami, and local police supervisor Jose Angel Gomez said about 5,000 people (80 percent of the population) had been evacuated from coastal towns in the Samara district west of the quake's epicenter. But by mid-day they were allowed to return. Panama also briefly called for people to evacuate beach areas.
The magnitude originally thought to be at 7.9, but was quickly downgraded. Although that did nothing to downgrade the panic as many locals in the area flooded the streets in fear. The Locals said it shook for about 30 seconds and even residents as far away as Panama and Nicaragua felt it, where some schools were canceled.
It was in 2009 that the last deadly earthquake hit Costa Rica and resulted in 40 deaths, The last similar sized earthquake the country was in 1991 and 47 people died. Thankfully the death count was much smaller today, but lets all keep the people of Costa Rica and the other effected areas in our thoughts and prayers.
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