Connect to share and comment
Another two earthquakes caused my old office in San Jose to sway again yesterday — though this time it's shaking less than on Jan. 8, when a quake leveled whole towns near Poas Volcano. That one, in the provinces of Heredia and Alajuela, killed as many as 30 people (some are still missing and long presumed dead) and left hundreds of families without a home.
Today's quakes — starting in southwestern Costa Rica's Golfo Dulce near the border with Panama — have reportedly caused no damage or injuries so far, but reports have been confusing and seismologists seem to disagree on how hard the quake actually hit.
An early report by the University of Costa Rica's National Seismological Network said the first quake (11:24 a.m.) struck at magnitude 5.5, while another center at the National University reported 6.3. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) meanwhile posted 5.7 on its website.
A second quake struck at about 3:04 p.m., and USGS gave it a magnitude 5.8, and then upped it to 5.9 — still no injuries or damage reported here.
Whatever the magnitude, many offices are being evacuated for fear of more to come. Costa Rican residents yesterday had a chilling reminder of the devastating quake that struck two months ago, causing an estimated $100 million in infrastructure damage along with the deeper, unquantifiable scars that can't be healed by international aid. One can only hope Costa Rica is never forced to face that again.
The devastating Jan. 8 quake registered at magnitude 6.1, which shows that the magnitude figure doesn't necessarily predict the damage to come. The topography, not just the magnitude, of the quake zone is key in determining a quake's effect.
Here's a map showing where the quake took place: