Wednesday 18 May 2022

Two tremors in 34 minutes shake cantons in the southern zone

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18 May 2022 - At The Banks - BCCR

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QCOSTARICA – Two tremors registering 4.5 and 5.2 in magnitude, 34 minutes apart, were perceived Wednesday afternoon in some cantons of the southern zone.

The first tremor occurred at 4:52 pm and the second was at 5:26 pm according to the report of the National Seismological Network (RSN).

Experts indicated that the epicenter of both earthquakes was located northwest of Punta Burica, in the province of Chiriquí, Panama, while the origin in both cases was the subduction of the Cocos plate, this means that the edge of this plate had a “slip” below the edge of another.

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Based on data from the RSN the first tremor (4.2 degrees) had a depth of 13 kilometers, while its epicenter was located 17 kilometers northwest of Punta Burica.

Regarding this event, the Costa Rican Seismological and Volcanic Observatory (Ovsicori), reported that the magnitude was 4.4 degrees and the depth was 22 kilometers, while the zero point was located nine kilometers northwest of Punta Burica. “It was reported as felt in Punta Burica, Puerto Armuelle, Pérez Zeledón and Alajuela,” the entity detailed on its website.

For the second, the RSN recorded a magnitude of 5.2 degrees, while the focus (epicenter) was located 15 kilometers northwest of Punta Burica. The depth, meanwhile, was 14 kilometers. “(It was) felt in Ciudad Neily, Buenos Aires and (in a) slight way in the Central Valley,” the institution said.

For its part, the Osvicori located the epicenter at 12 kilometers northwest of Punta Burica, the magnitude in its revised report was 5 degrees and the depth 22 kilometers.

In neither of the two earthquake events was there any damage to structures or people, according to the report of the emergency authorities.

In the past, the authorities have highlighted that the country is characterized by being a highly seismic territory, so it is normal for there to be frequent tremors. They have also highlighted that these cannot be predicted; however, a major earthquake is expected in the southern part of Costa Rica in the next few years.

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In 2020, Ovsicori seismologist Marino Protti said that the seismic cycle in the southern zone is about 40 years The last major earthquake occurred in Golfito was in 1983.

“The Cocos plate continues to push the southern part of our country towards the northeast, at a rate of about 60 millimeters per year, that is, faster than many other plates on the planet move,” Protti explained in 2020. The expert added that, if this event occurs, it would be able to reactivate old faults in central areas of the Central Valley.

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Reports by QCR staff

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