Strong and shallow M6.1 earthquake hits Costa Rica – Panama border region


A strong and shallow earthquake registered by the USGS as M6.1 hit Costa Rica – Panama border region at 19:24 UTC (14:24 LT) on May 12, 2019. The agency is reporting a depth of 19 km (11.8 miles). EMSC is reporting M6.1 at a depth of 18 km (11.1 miles).

The epicenter was located 3.3 km (2.1 miles) WSW of Brenon (population 230), 26.5 km (16.5 miles) WNW of La Concepcion (population 17 698), 28.5 km (17.7 miles) SW of Volcan (population 10 296) and 36.7 km (22.8 miles) N of Puerto Armuelles (population 11 743), Panama.

At least 7 aftershocks with magnitudes ranging from 3 to 3.9 were registered over the next 2 hours.

Image credit: Google, TW/SAM

There are 750 000 people living within 100 km (62 miles).

64 000 people are estimated to have felt strong shaking, 336 000 moderate, 618 000 light and 152 000 weak.

Several buildings were damaged and at least 2 people injured.

The USGS issued a green alert for shaking-related fatalities and economic losses. There is a low likelihood of casualties and damage.

Overall, the population in this region resides in structures that are a mix of vulnerable and earthquake resistant construction. The predominant vulnerable building types are mud wall and informal (metal, timber, GI etc.) construction.

Recent earthquakes in this area have caused secondary hazards such as landslides and liquefaction that might have contributed to losses.

Estimated population exposure to earthquake shaking

Selected cities exposed

​Regional seismicity


Featured image credit: Google, TW/SAM


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