Strong earthquake strikes off Costa Rica, no tsunami threat

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A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.5 has struck just off the coast of Costa Rica, seismologists and residents say. Only few details were immediately available but no tsunami warnings have been issued.

The earthquake, which struck at 8:28 p.m. local time on Sunday, was centered in the Pacific Ocean about 16.9 kilometers (10.5 miles) southwest of the city of Parrita, or 66 kilometers (41 miles) southwest of San Jose.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) put the preliminary magnitude of Sunday’s earthquake at 6.5, while Costa Rica’s seismological agency put the magnitude at 6.9. Both said the earthquake struck at a shallow depth, about 15 to 20 kilometers (9 to 12 miles) below the surface.

“Shook the house fairly violently and all windows rattled,” a resident in Santa Gertrudis Norte, about 61 kilometers (38 miles) from the epicenter, told the European-Mediterranean Seismological Center. Several others said the electricity briefly went out in their area.

There was no immediate word on damage or casualties, but no tsunami warnings have been issued. “Based on all available data, there is no tsunami threat from this earthquake,” the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said in a bulletin to member countries.

Computer models from the USGS estimated that as many as 22.2 million people across the region could have felt the earthquake, including 32,000 people who may have experienced “strong” shaking. It said the likelihood of casualties or serious damage is slow.

Costa Rica is on the so-called ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’, an arc of fault lines circling the Pacific Basin that is prone to frequent and large earthquakes.

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