Experts to monitor more closely quake-prone southern zone

Laboratorio de Ingeniería Sísmica graphic Star marks epicenter of a 2.4 magnitude quake that took place at 10:25 p.m. Wednesday at San Miguel. Red lines are known faults. Another quake took place four minutes earlier at the same spot.

Emergency commission and earthquake experts are stepping up their watch on the southwest part of the Central Valley which has been the location of 18 felt quakes since Dec. 22.

The quakes ranged from a magnitude 2.8 to 3.8.

The Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias convened a special meeting Wednesday to discuss the events. Experts are a little puzzled because the quakes do not correspond to the location of the three known faults there. However, they said these type of quakes have been seen for years.

The epicenters have been centered in the communities of San Miguel and San Antonio de Desamparados and Tobosi. The area is near the boundary between the provinces of San José and Cartago.

The Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico at Universidad Nacional reported that throughout the year there were at least 200 similar quakes in that area.

Also at the meeting were the Red Sismológica and the Laboratorio de Ingeniería Sísmica, both of the Universidad de Costa Rica. The experts agreed that more sensor stations will be installed in the zone in order to track future quakes with more precision. The emergency commission will provide the operational structure for the oversight.

The commission noted that the area has a high population and vulnerability due to potential for slides due to unstable slopes and constructions that are not rated for quakes.

Although the flurry of quakes appear to be normal for the zone, the commission urged residents to make preparations because they live in a zone of high earthquake potential.

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