The US Geological Survey said the centre of the quake, which hit Hojancha, Costa Rica at 8:42AM local time (12:42AM AEST). In the town of Hojancha (located about 60 kilometers from Liberia, Costa Rica, and 141 kilometers west of the capital, San Jose) near the epicentre, city official Kenia Campos said the quake knocked down some houses and landslides blocked two roads.
There have been no reported deaths yet, but communications have been disrupted and phone and internet service are down in some areas. Officials are having problem accessing the earthquake zone or reaching people there and were flying over the area to assess damage to highways and other structures. Costa Rica has a very good building code for seismic resistance, with modern buildings having some of the strictest measures in the world.
A tsunami warning was issued shortly after and remains in effect for Costa Rica, Panama and Nicaragua, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Ewa Beach, Hawaii.
Some additional reports are coming in from Twitter and other sources:
- In Nandayure, a town near the epicenter, people report that the church tower fell down.
- Movistar network is down, ICE [Costa Rican Institute of Electricity] works partially.
UPDATE (2:34PM EST):
A second fatality has been reported: A man was hit by a collapsing wall in Nicoya. Rescue services could do nothing to save him.
Photos of the damage have come in. View them here.
UPDATE (1:42PM EST):
Pacific Tsunami Warning Center cancelled the tsunami warning issued for Costa Rica, Panama and Nicaragua.
Red Cross in Costa Rica reported no casualties, but there is evidence of 20 people injured and one death attributed to a heart attack brought on by fright. Power and communications are still out in many areas.
Seismologists are reporting that the Nicoya peninsula has been lifted for 1 meter due to the earthquake. This is considered normal as the peninsula was pulled down about the same amount over the last 60 years. The lifting also suggests that today’s earthquake was a subduction earthquake which are far less dangerous than transform earthquakes.
UPDATE (1:15PM EST):
Officials are concerned about the reported landslides (seen in a fly over of the area) as landslides can generate a lot of victims during earthquakes.
The first reports of injuries are coming in with 10 to 20 injured, but not critical patients transported to the clinic in Filadelfia, Guanacaste. One Costa Rican woman is reported dead from a heart attack suffered during the earthquake.