“Temblor” in Costa Rica!

A strong earthquake shook the Costa Rica capitol city of San Jose, sending frightened residents into the streets and setting off a panic. The January 8, 2009 quake struck in the afternoon while office building and streets were packed with people. We will have photos and videos when available.

Costa Rica Earthquake

Costa Rica Earthquake

Shoddy construction in central American nations, particularly poor shanty’s constructed of mud, make them susceptible to widespread damage. But Costa Rica is one of the most advanced societies in central America, partly a result of the tourism industry. There will be no problems in the modern cities from a moderate earthquake like this, but the older villages may be susceptible.

In this case the early reports are no significant damage and only one fatality, a small girl. Cell phone service was disrupted and there were landslides outside of the city. These are still preliminary damage assessments from the modern city of San Jose itself.

According to the US Geological Survey, the quake was centered about 22 miles outside of San Jose, Costa Rica in the early afternoon on January 8, 2009. The estimate of magnitude was revised downward to 6.1 from 6.2, and it is luckily very deep underground (28 miles). The tremor began at 1:21 pm local time. There have been at least 4 aftershocks.

Earthquakes occur frequently in the seismically active area. A similarly-sized quake shook Costa Rica last year. Local news sites are getting swamped with high traffic. Headlines are screaming “Temblor in Costa Rica!”

6.1 on the Richter scale makes the Costa Rica quake one magnitude smaller than the 1989 earthquake which struck the San Francisco area during the World Series. That earthquake caused the cross-bay bridge to partially collapse and flattened an elevated freeway in Oakland which crushed cars and people.

A far more damaging quake hit the country in 1991, which is pictured in the photo above. This one will do no such damage in San Jose, although there may be damage in the surrounding villages.

As usual, we will post the video and photos when available.

Costa Rica Earthquake Videos

Photo courtesy EERI.