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20 years

Magnitude 5.3 earthquake strikes Puntarenas, Costa Rica

PUNTARENAS, COSTA RICA – October 12th, 2012 – What is initially being reported by OVISCORI, Costa Rica’s national volcanic and seismic authority, as a 5.3 magnitude earthquake struck at 1:25pm local time (GMT -6) with its epicenter near Parrita, Puntarenas, in Costa Rica.

USGS has not yet reported the earthquake, its magnitude or epicenter.  OVISCORI’s web site appears to be down at this time.  Shaking has been reported in the central valley and capital city of San Jose.

Violent shaking of homes was reported in Quepos.  No reports of injuries or damages at this time.


Editor’s note: This page will be updated as we receive additional information.


UPDATE 1:  USGS is now reporting the event as being 5.0 magnitude, at a depth of 45km, epicenter 52km SSW of San Jose.  This conflicts with information reported by OVISCORI to local television news.  OVISCORI reports a 5.3 magnitude earthquake with its epicenter 21km southeast of Palma de Parrita in Puntarenas.

UPDATE 2 (1:59 PM local time) – There are no reports of injuries or damages but there are reports of fallen objects in homes.  The quake was also felt strongly in Heredia, Jaco, and Parrita, where fallen objects in homes and businesses are reported.  Coronado and Cartago also reported strong shaking.  The quake is being reported as being felt as far away as Limon.  The national emergency commission (CNE) is calling for calm and says in the event of further seismic activity to move to areas of safety or evacuation routes.

UPDATE 3:  (Editor’s note): It should be noted that this should not be described as an “aftershock” of the 7.6 earthquake that occurred on September 5th, such as the 5.3 magnitude aftershock on October 10th  , as this is a completely different epicenter and fault.

UPDATE 4: Strong shaking reported from Uvita de Osa and Turrialba.

UPDATE 5: Inside Costa Rica has received additional information from Rebeca Madrigal López of CNE (Costa Rica emergency response).  According to the national seismology network, the quake was 5.1 magnitude on the richter scale with its epicenter located 13km southeat of Parrita, at a depth of 26.6km.  Municipal emergency personal have received no reports of serious damage. Staff and patients at the CCSS (public health) hospital in Parrita were temporarily evacuated while the condition of the building was evaluated, but have since returned as the building has been deemed safe.

Other institutions such as the Red Cross, Fire Department, and Ministry of Education amongst others reported no damage, only fallen objects.

The quake was felt through the entire country according to CNE.


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