A seismologist points to a graphic showing an earthquake in the photo above. A strong earthquake shook Costa Rica Thursday, shattering window, cracking walls and sending San Jose residents running into the streets of the capital city.
The U.S. Geological Survey said that the 6.2 magnitude quake, which occurred at 1:19 p.m. was centered 22 miles northwest of San Jose, near the Poas Volcano national park. The depth of the quake was measured at 28 miles. The city of Alajuela, north of the capital suffered structural damage as shown on local TV station Teletica.
The shockwave was felt strongly throughout the area, triggering small landslides outside the capital. Cell phone service was interrupted briefly. Structural damage was reported by Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) on Avenida 2 and Calle 1. Six houses reportedly collapsed and were destroyed near the quake's epicenter.
Students from the University of Costa Rica were evacuated shortly after the quake hit. There are reportedly 1,000 tourists stranded in Vera Blanca, a small town at the base of Poas Volcano.
Four aftershocks have been reported so far with reports out of San Jose indicate that two girls, age 7 and 9, were buried by a landslide and died. News broadcasts in San Jose are warning residents in the Central Valley area to be on 'red alert' for continued aftershocks.
This is the second jolt in the past two days. Tico Times daily news in San Jose reported yesterday that they had felt the first tremors of the 2009 earthquake season. The tremor started at 10:00 a.m. and lasted about three minutes and measured 4.0 magnitude. It was followed by 55 aftershocks, with no injuries or damage reported.
Last year there were 4,746 quakes, but only 60 of them were felt - the strongest hitting 6.2 on November 19, 2008.
More photos below and video. One is from a San Jose newsroom - during the quake.