7.6 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Guanacaste Costa Rica

Blog Archives


7.6 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Guanacaste Costa Rica

Posted by in Uncategorized | September 5, 2012

Map showing location of Costa Rica earthquakeCosta Rica has experienced a Richter 7.6 Earthquake. For all current and future guests and family please be assured that locally, in the San Jose, Costa Rica International Airport area initial indications are that damage is very minimal. Hotel La Rosa along with all guests and staff are safe and sound and our business continues as usual! If you would like to contact us please use our CONTACT US page and we will be happy to respond.

It seems that there was significant superficial and some structural damage to buildings and infrastructure in the Guanacaste area. However for an earthquake of this magnitude, the overall impact on Costa Ricans was thankfully light – all things considered. Landslide caused by Costa Rica earthquakeDue to the depth of the quake at approximately 41 km below the surface powerful shocks were felt over a very widespread area but on the positive side, the depth muted the violent shocks to a more heavy rolling feeling lasting about 30 seconds. This is in stark contrast to the much smaller and shallower (5 km deep) but far more deadly and damaging Richter 6.1 quake of 2009 that caused widespread havoc along the slopes of Poas Volcano and parts of the Central Valley of Costa Rica. Also, the 2009 quake occurred in very mountainous terrain and triggered huge landslides whereas the 7.6 quake struck in the Province of Guanacaste – an area dominated by gently rolling hills and flat plains.

Merchandise shaken off shelves by earthquakeDamages to buildings have been somewhat random and widespread. The CCSS Hospital in Puntarenas was significantly damaged causing evacuations of the patients. Landslides are covering roads leading to Nosara and Samara. There is damage to the Engineering School in the University of Costa Rica in downtown San Jose. Some structures in the hilly areas of Sarchi suffered collapse and in Grecia heavy shocks ruptured many of the above ground burial crypts in the local cemetery. It is reported that one very old secondary road bridge collapsed in the Sarapiqui area however the newer primary bridge remains unaffected.

It is a relief to see that the major effort of the Costa Rican Government to improve the National road network (including bridges) and general infrastructure (enforcing building codes for example) is bearing fruit. Many bridges have been seismically upgraded in the past three years and this is quite obviously important for a country that is so much a part of the Pacific Ring of Fire. Without these upgrades, and without a solid medical and emergency response able to reach damaged areas, the situation for the most severely affected residents could have been much worse.

Hopefully this quake was the much anticipated “BIG ONE” that has been predicted for years and that the built up pressure caused by the sub-ducting Cocos Plate under the Caribbean Plate has been substantially reduced.