Nosara: A powerful earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale had struck off in Costa Rican capital San Jose, the US Geological Survey said on Wednesday.
According to USGS, the major quake struck near the Pacific Coast at 8:42 am and the epicenter is reported to be in western Costa Rica about 141 kms from San Jose and 80kms from the south of the town of Liberia.
Meanwhile, as a precautionary measure, Pacific Tsunami Warning Center had issued a Caribbean-wide tsunami alert across the most of Central and South America including Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala and Peru.
In some parts of the capital, buildings and tress were shaken by the impact of the quake and power failure was also reported.
The quake lead to collapsing of some houses and blocking of highways, causing panic. As per an agency, there was only one reported death, from a heart attack.
One man died of a heart attack caused by fright, said Carlos Miranda, a Red Cross worker in the city of Liberia. A preliminary review revealed some structural damage near the epicenter, but no reports of direct deaths or injuries caused by the quake, said Douglas Salgado, a geographer with Costa Rica's National Commission of Risk Prevention and Emergency Attention. He said a tsunami alert had been called off for Costa Rica.
Hotels and other structures suffered cracks in walls and saw items knocked off shelves.
Today's quake occurred in a seismically active zone where the Pacific tectonic plate is diving beneath Central America.
The last deadly quake to strike Costa Rica was in 2009, when 40 died in a magnitude-6.1 temblor. The last similar-sized quake to hit the country was in 1991 when 47 people were killed in the Limon-Pandora area.
(With Agency inputs)
First Published: Wednesday, September 05, 2012, 21:13