Shallow M6.3 earthquake hits Panama – Costa Rica border region


A strong and shallow earthquake registered by the USGS as M6.3 hit Panama – Costa Rica border region at 05:23 UTC (00:23 local time) on June 26, 2019. The agency is reporting a depth of 26.2 km (16.2.2 miles). EMSC is reporting M6.2 at a depth of 40 km (24.8 miles).

The epicenter was located 3.4 km (2.1 miles) N of La Esperanza (population 1 890), 19.2 km (11.9 miles) NNE of Puerto Armuelles and 20.4 km (12.7 miles) WSW La Conception (population 17 698), Panama.

There are 666 000 people living within 100 km (62 miles).

72 000 people are estimated to have felt very strong shaking (VII), 294 000 strong (VI), 993 000 moderate (V) and 4 080 000 light (IV).

The USGS issued a yellow alert for shaking-related fatalities and economic losses. Some casualties and damage are possible and the impact should be relatively localized. Past yellow alerts have required a local or regional level response. Estimated economic losses are less than 1% of GDP of Panama.

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 unreinforced brick masonry and adobe block construction.

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

According to the AFP, villagers in the south of Costa Rica fled their homes, fearing aftershocks. Two houses in the region were damaged by the quake, said Alexander Solis, president of the country's National Emergency Commission.

Costa Rica's President Carlos Alvarado said there were power cuts in several communities in the southwest of the country, near the epicenter.

Estimated population exposure to earthquake shaking

Selected cities exposed

Regional seismicity

Featured image credit: Google, TW/SAM


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