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No tsunami for Hawaii from Costa Rica earthquake

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 01:25 p.m. HST, Sep 05, 2012

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center cancelled tsunami warnings and do not expect any tsunami for Hawaii in the wake of a 7.6 earthquake off the coast of Costa Rica this morning.

Sea level readings showed no wide-spread tsunami was generated, although some local waves may have come ashore near the epicenter, officials said. The warning center said mariners could still experience rapid currents and small sea level changes from the earthquake.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake struck at 4:42 a.m. Hawaii time about 38 miles from the town of Liberia in a coastal area popular with tourists.  The magnitude initially was estimated at 7.9. Local residents said it shook for about 30 seconds.

The quake was fairly deep — 25 miles below the surface. Deeper events tend to be less damaging than ones closer to the surface, but more widely felt.

"If it was a shallower event, it would be a significantly higher hazard," said seismologist Daniel McNamara of the U.S. Geological Survey.

Police supervisor Jose Angel Gomez said about 5,000 people — 80 percent of the population — had been evacuated from coastal towns in the Samara district west of the quake's center before warnings were canceled. He said water was receding from the shore. 

One man died of a heart attack caused by fright, said Carlos Miranda, a Red Cross worker in the city of Liberia, but there were no reports of deaths directly caused by the quake.

A preliminary review revealed some structural damage near the epicenter, but no deaths or injuries, said Douglas Salgado, a geographer with Costa Rica's National Commission of Risk Prevention and Emergency Attention.

The review also uncovered a landslide on the main highway that connects the capital of San Jose to the Pacific coast city of Puntarenas, Salgado said. Hotels and other structures suffered cracks in walls and saw items knocked off shelves.

"There's chaos in San Jose because it was a strong earthquake of long duration," Salgado said. "It was pretty strong and caused collective chaos."

The quake was also felt in neighboring Nicaragua, which cancelled schools in some areas, and in Panama.

Rosa Pichardo, 45, who lives in Samara, was walking on the beach with her family when the quake hit.

"When we felt the earthquake, we held onto each other because we kept falling," Pichardo said. "I've never felt anything like this. We just couldn't stay standing. My feet gave out under me. It was terrible, terrible."

In the town of Hojancha a few miles from the epicenter, city official Kenia Campos said the quake knocked down some houses and landslides blocked several roads.

"So far, we don't have victims," she said. "People were really scared ... We have had moderate quakes but an earthquake (this strong) hadn't happened in more than 50 years."

Michelle Landwer, owner of the Belvedere Hotel in Samara, north of the epicenter, said she was having breakfast with about 10 people when the earthquake struck.

"The whole building was moving, I couldn't even walk," Landwer said. "Here in my building there was no real damage. Everything was falling, like glasses and everything."

In the coastal town of Nosara, roughly 20 miles southwest of the epicenter, trees shook violently and light posts swayed. Teachers chased primary school students outside as the quake hit. Roads cracked and power lines fell to the ground.

Costa Rican television station Canal 13 reported that numerous homes, schools and a hospital on the peninsula were damaged, and it said the country's congress canceled a session planned for later in the day.

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.

While there was no immediate evidence of tsunami waves, a regional warning was issued based on the quake's strength.

"We're erring on the side of caution until we know for sure," said Mike Angove, acting director of the tsunami program at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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pizzapirate wrote:
Makes you wonder lately- lots of earthquakes in the news.....will HI get the remnants of one?
on September 5,2012 | 07:01AM
fandm wrote:
"Officials at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center do not expect to extend the tsunami warning to Hawaii in the wake of a 7.6 earthquake of the coast of Costa Rica this morning." You mean, OFF the coast of Costa Rica this morning? Spelling errors from a news source drive me crazy.
on September 5,2012 | 07:06AM
loquaciousone wrote:
Sorry! I fell out of bed this morning.
on September 5,2012 | 07:10AM
cojef wrote:
Have been on 3 cruises that stopped at Puntarenas and on the 1st rode a choo-choo train, similar to that, we had in Hawaii. The route took us from sea-level up along the foothills and higher on the narrow gauge tracks, shaking and rattling. The memorable part was that the restroom had just a slit in the floor and it was possible to get a backwash, especially for women, no problem for men. The lush tropical forest is also similar to Hawaii and in places impenetratable. Bought some coffee beans in the town of Sachi, where the world renowned carts can be seen. The uniqueness of the carts are the multi-colored painted and patterned wheels on the wagons. Also visited the museum in San Jose and the impressive and beautiful opera house. Hope the quake did little or no damage to Costa Rica. Beautiful place to visit.
on September 5,2012 | 08:32AM
HD36 wrote:
As we move closer to the black hole in the galactic plane, the gravitational pull will cause more earthquakes. The main stream media does not want to cause panic but we will be at the closest point to the black hole on December 21, 2012. How the Mayans knew this is a mystery. How they obtained the knowledge to make a calender more advanced than ours today that could accurately predict celestial events thousands of years into the future is a mystery. The theory is that they were visited by the Annanuki and they had to make human sacrifices to them.
on September 5,2012 | 09:01AM
Dragonman wrote:
So how bad will it get. It appears the frequency and sizre of earthquakes has been increasing. I am not sure if this is true or is it that we have better technology which enable us to track these earthquakes and information out to the public.
on September 5,2012 | 11:05AM
HD36 wrote:
There are alot more seismographs around the world which will detect many more earthquakes. However, earthquakes above 6.0 will be detected by the existing ones already in place. A 6.0 is ten times larger than a 5.0 and has 32 times the energy to cause destruction. Since we entered the galactic plane in 1998 earthquakes above 6.0 have increased about 500%. As far as how bad it can get, the scientist from the Horizon Project predict a geographical pole shift. (very bad)
on September 5,2012 | 04:02PM
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