6.5 earthquake strikes off Nicaragua, scientists say major tsunami unlikely

MANAGUA, June 15, 2013 (AFP) – A moderate 6.5-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Nicaragua on Saturday and rattled nearby cities, but scientists said it was unlikely to have generated a major tsunami.

The earthquake struck at 11:34 am (1734 GMT), 90 kilometers (55 miles) west of the capital Managua at a depth of 35 kilometers, the US Geological Survey said in a revised estimate.

The USGS had initially estimated the strength of the earthquake as 6.6.

The quake rocked coastal cities and was felt in the capital, but there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.

“No destructive widespread tsunami threat exists based on historical earthquake and tsunami data,” the US Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.

“However, earthquakes of this size sometimes generate local tsunamis that can be destructive along coasts located within a hundred kilometers of the earthquake epicenter,” it said, urging local authorities to act accordingly.

A 6.2-magnitude earthquake in Managua on December 23, 1972, killed 5,000 people and left more than a quarter million homeless.

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