Magnitude 7.3 Earthquake Near El Salvador Kills 1 PersonMichael McDonald
A magnitude 7.3 earthquake that struck off the Pacific coast of Central America last night killed at least one person in El Salvador and was felt across the region.
The temblor struck at 9:51 p.m. local time (11:51 EST) 169 kilometers (105 miles) southeast of El Salvador’s capital, San Salvador, according to the U.S. Geological Service. One person was killed in the eastern city of San Miguel, according to El Salvador’s civil protection service. It was the biggest quake to strike the country since 2001, according to USGS data.
Authorities initially declared a tsunami alert and advised coastal residents to leave the area as a precaution. The international airport in San Salvador did not sustain damage, according to the civil protection service, while schools were closed today in Nicaragua. El Salvador warned of the threat of more landslides.
Electricity was knocked out in parts of San Salvador by the quake, which was felt in Guatemala City and as far away as San Jose, Costa Rica. The quake was preceded by a 4.5 magnitude temblor near the Costa Rican coast, according to the USGS.
“There are no reports of major damage,” said Francisco Meardi, the mayor of the southeastern town of Usulutan, in an interview on El Salvador’s state-run radio. “We’ll see over the course of the night and morning what the reports are. The quake was very strong.”
Central America is susceptible to earthquakes because of the movement of at least four tectonic plates, including the Cocos and Caribbean plates. A magnitude 7.6 earthquake struck off the Costa Rican coast in 2012.