Was it a 6.3 or 7.1 the earthquake that shook most of Costa Rica Tuesday (June 25) night? That all depends on which measurement you accept … and not what was being reported on the social networks that the inflated number was with the 13% Value Added Tax (VAT) that takes effect on July 1.

The social networks “lost all reasoning” when it came to informing people.

According to the Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica (Ovsicori) of the Universidad Nacional (UNA) tweeted the magnitude of Tuesday night’s quake being a 6.3 on the Richter Scale, while the Red Sismológica Nacional (RSN) of the Univesidad de Costa Rica (UCR) published it as a 7.1 magnitude.

Not five minutes passed and the meme of the night appeared; a screenshot with the text: “The earthquake was 6.3; It seems that they are already charging the VAT and that is why they report it in 7.1”.

To finish off, the final magnitude of the quake calculated in Costa Rica ended up being different: a 6.7 with an epicenter 11 km east of Panama’s Puerto Armuelles, near the border with Costa Rica. But the United States Geological Survey (USGS) recorded that the quake was of magnitude 6.2, 5 km southeast of Aserrio de Gariche … And who is right?

The same quake can have different readings because they come from different seismic networks, which have the location in common but can vary due to:

  • The number of seismological stations available
  • Its spatial distribution in relation to the earthquake
  • The degree of knowledge of depth geology
  • The distance from the station closest to the earthquake
  • The signal quality of the stations
  • The ability of the seismologist to interpret it
  • The method used

The same quake can seem to have different locations because of different geographic reference points.

One thing that all services do agree on is that there have been many, many aftershocks – more than 500 and counting – following the main event Tuesday night.

Experts say that the aftershocks can continue for 3 or 4 days more.