Depth of quake prevented damage, experts report

Costa Ricans have a lot to be thankful for after the 6.0 quake left almost no damage in the country.

The national emergency commission said that the depth of the quake, estimated at 70 kilometers (some 43 miles) was a major factor in protecting the country. The quake was just north of Puriscal, and even the damaged Puriscal Catholic church that appears ready to collapse did not sustain damage.

The emergency commission flew over the area Saturday and could locate no damage.

The Puriscal quake that took place Dec. 22, 1990, was recorded at a magnitude of 5.7, but two persons died. Damage was estimated at nearly $20 million, incuding the church that residents hope to rebuild.

The emergency commission declared a low state of emergency Friday after the quake mainly with the expectation that landslides were possible.
Officials said that they flew over small slides at Hortiga, Lajas, Tablazo, Cascabel and el Burío but that they were not major. In addition to Puriscal, the flight included inspection of Mora, Aserrí, Acosta, Desamparados, Alajuelita and the entire course of the Río Virilla.

Some Costa Ricans reported that objects fell from shelves and in a few places cracks appeared in the pavement. The Cruz Roja said that reports from 124 of its centers confirmed that damage was light.

Emergency commission experts also responded to reports from residents in the vicinity of the Turrialba volcano who said they noticed an increase in activity as a result of the earthquake. The volcano experts dismissed this theory and said that the greater amount of steam rising from the crater was because of the rain that was falling.

The quake was blamed on movement within the Coco tectonic plate. A.M. Costa Rica reported on the quake in an update Friday afternoon. That story is HERE!

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