Strong and moderately dangerous earthquake in Costa Rica – initial M 6.1 decreased to M 5.8

Last update: February 13, 2012 at 7:07 pm by By

Earthquake overview : A powerful earthquake struck the coastal Costa Rica area at 04:55 in the morning. The epicenter has been located at 76 km from San Jose.
“I have Felt it” Reports –> see below + Let us know “how you have felt this earthquake”
To read the full story as it happened, we advise our readers to start at the lower part of the page (earthquake data).
Check our Costa Rica-Only real-time earthquakes list here

Keep this page open or return regularly as we will be back with more details when they become available

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Update 18:56 UTC : It was felt strongly, however damage and injuries have not yet been registered. Falling objects as stated before have occurred on the coast. If any people have registered damage, please let us know. The aftershocks have not caused major damage as yet.

Update 16:44 UTC :  10 aftershocks have been reported by Ovsicori since the mainshock 5 hours ago.  All these aftershocks were below M 4, making them harmless for houses and people.

Shaking map as calculated by USGS

Update 16:03 UTCUntil now we have found no signs of damage or injuries (but still too soon to be certain). A lot of people are reporting however “fallen objects” in various parts of the country.

Update 15:53 UTCUSGS has decreased the magnitude after recalculation to Mw 5.8. The depth has been updated to 27.9 km.

Update 15:51 UTC :  A video report from Telenoticias7, one of the main networks with a very good earthquake report. Those among you who do not understand Spanish, have to go directly to 06:30 minutes. The video shows the shaking in the television studios. The shaking confirms the many I Have Felt It reports that we have received from all over Costa Rica. Telenoticias7 is also mentioning (like one of our readers below) that the country has felt various small quakes since Saturday.  Saturday’s earthquake measured M 4.5.  On Sunday 3 smaller aftershocks were noticed. Today’s earthquake occurred in the same area than the 4 other ones and can be called a stronger aftershock than the mainshock.

Update 15:32 UTCOVISCORI, the local Costa Rican seismological agency, has reported a magnitude of 5.9. The depth of the hypocenter was located at 14 km. Epicenter in the Pacific Ocean at 34 km to the South West of Estero Garita. Oviscori also reported a max. intensity of VI MMI (strong shaking), a little less than USGS initially reported.

Update 12:12 UTC :  From James Daniells CATDAT database : The area had over 40 damaging earthquakes historically in the last 100 years within 100km, the 1910 earthquakes caused over 1000 fatalities. Based on previous losses there will probably be no fatalities, but minor damage should be expected.

Update 12:09 UTC :  As could have been expected if earthquakes like this occur, the shaking has also been felt in many neighboring countries.

Update 11:44 UTC :  The locations that may experience a moderate shaking are : Quepos, Parrita, San Isidro, Daniel Flores, Mercedes

Update 11:40 UTC : Following the initial calculations of USGS, the earthquake will have been felt by 785 people as a very strong shaking, 149,000 people will have felt a moderate shaking and 4,094,000 people will have been shaken slightly.

Update : We expect NO tsunami danger from this earthquake. the specialized agencies have not created alert messages.

Update : This earthquake occurred in the highly populated region of Puntarenas in Costa Rica, also visited by many tourists.

Update :  The nearest populated places are: Dominical (16km), Guapil (14km), Bar? (18km), Hatillo (12km), Laguna (16km), Salitral (15km), Palma Quemada (11km), Platanillo (11km), Matapalo (10km), Tierras Morenas (18km), Dos Bocas (15km), Dos Boscas (15km), Portal?n (12km), Paso (12km), Pasito (13km), Savegre (13km), Llorona (19km), Guabos (17km), Finca Negro (19km), S?balo (19km). The closest civilian airport is Nuevo Palmar Sur (67km).

Update : the epicenter is located at only a few km from the coast

The depth of this earthquake is shallow enough to create serious problems in the epicenter area.


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“I Have Felt It” reports as received by Earthquake-Report.com
Ojochal, Costa Rica – Woken by windows shaking in bedroom. lasted perhaps 7 seconds. time 4:55
Cartago, Tres Rios, Dulce Nombre – Nada se a caido en mi casa
Jaco, Costa Rica : light shaking indicated
Moravia, Costa Rica : It woke my daughter and I from our sleep.  The house was shaking very strongly.
Dominical, Costa Rica : I experienced the Northridge earthquake in 1994 and this one hit roughly at the same time of day.  It jolted me out of bed and felt like a rumbling and shaking that might not end.  It lasted only 5 or 6 seconds it felt like but it gave me the impression that it was just the beginning of another one about to start.  So I am sitting here kind of getting ready in my mind for another one.
Costa Rica : We were sleeping on the fourth floor of a modern high rise structure, luxury condominiums/resort hotel. We were awakened by the shaking bed and immediately ran for the emergency exit stairs. We are from San Francisco, CA and knew what was happening and that we needed to get out.  In two nine story towers with about forty guests, only one other person evacuated.  Many guests turned on lights and came to their balconies to look out and yell down to the security guards to ask what was happening.  The temblor was back and forth motion, long enough to wake us and for us to hop out of bed before it stopped. After waiting outside several minutes, we returned to our rooms.
The day before, at 2:45 pm local time, we were at a hotel restaurant across the way. We felt several temblors, but we thought the floor in the restaurant was shaking and since no one else paid any attention at all, we attributed it to the design and construction of the floor.  ( Of course, we couldn’t figure out how a heavy stone floor was suspended on a roof top restaurant, but since not one other guest or employee even looked up, we assumed the shaking was normal. Turns out, those were quakes!)
Jaco – Bed was shaking, This was the biggest I ever felt.
Jaco - Mouvement global de la maison, l’eau de la piscine bougeait creant des vagues! Bizarre il n’y avait pas de grondement de la terre comme le tremblement de terre au Quebec,canada…
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica – Pretty strong shaking and swaying back and forth, windows shook but did not break a lamp shades askew but safe and nothing broken
Dominical, Costa Rica : I seem to feel quakes a few minutes before they start, & woke up just before I felt the trembling start. It felt like it was going to last a long time, everything shook, the windows rattled and my first thought was, how Do I know if I’m safe from a wave? Lasted maybe 4-5 seconds.. It felt like a big jolt.. Seeing that it was a 6.1 is no surprise.. Grateful to be safe
Arenas del Mar Manuel Antonio – As tourists, we thought it was monkeys running on thevroof. Woke us both from our sleep just before 5 am!
Heredia, Costa Rica - I was surprised to hear the earthquake called a 5.8… I don’t have much experience with earhtquakes, but this one didn’t seem all that big at all.
Desamparados - I was sleeping when I felt my bed moving very hard. There are no damages. It was also too long.
Jaco, Costa Rica - Bed rocked from side to side for several seconds. When my feet hit the floor could still feel some trembling in the building. No noise like I have heard with quakes in British Columbia.
Dominical - Felt pretty strong here in Dominical. We’re in a house on hill that over looks Dominical.woke us up and shook the fans & hanging items. No damage that I see
Santa Ana : I was on my way to sleep and was already in my bed when it started vibrating. At first I had not realized anything and there was noise coming from outside. I thought it was wind but then the shaking got a bit worst and my bed was moving left to right. I knew then was an earthquake. Was my first experience so it was a bit scary but in the end no harm done or damage. Nothing fell off shelves.


Most important Earthquake Data:
Magnitude : 6.1 5.8  (Ovsicori Costa Rica : 5.9)
UTC Time : Monday, February 13, 2012 at 10:55:12 UTC
Local time at epicenter : Monday, February 13, 2012 at 04:55:12 AM at epicenter
Depth (Hypocenter) : 33.6 km 27.9 km ( (Ovsicori Costa Rica : 14 km)
Geo-location(s) :
75 km (50 miles) S (175°) from SAN JOSE, Costa Rica
137 km (85 miles) SW (233°) from Limon, Costa Rica
193 km (120 miles) W (268°) from Bocas del Toro, Panama

Links to important maps
USGS Did You Feel It Map
Google satellite map showing the epicenter and the surrounding area.
Historic earthquakes map
Seismic hazard map
Shaking map
Focal mechanism report
Human impact map
GDACS earthquake report
QuakeSOS+ and QuakeSOS free are iPhone applications developed by Armand Vervaeck, the founder of Earthquake Report. The Application simplifies immediate group communication to friends and family members (with your exact GPS location) and is feeding the users with Earthquake Report news. The 0.99 US$ QuakeSOS+ version will support the activities of SOS Earthquakes.

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I did feel it – Ik heb het gevoeld – Το έκανα αισθάνεται Yo lo he sentido – 我的确感到了 – 私はそれを感じていました- Ich habe es gefühlt – Bunu hissediyorum yaptı – لم أشعر أنه

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