Emergency officials and quake experts say flurry is normal

Laboratorio de Ingeniería Sísmica graphic Red dot is the estimated epicenter of the Sunday quake. Yellow dots are quakes since Feb. 13.

Earthquake experts have characterized the flurry of quakes off shore in the Pacific as normal. That was the consensus after a meeting of emergency and technical experts Monday.

The national emergency commission called the meeting. The area some 30 to 40 kilometers west of Dominical has been the scene of dozens of quakes, one of them in the 5.9-6.0 range. The biggest was Feb. 13.

This is not unusual, said the experts, noting that similar flurries have taken place in 2008, in 2009 and in 2010. The latest flurry produced 11 quakes greater than 3.8 magnitude, they said.

Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias graphic Graphic shows the process whereby the Coco tectonic plate is being pushed down by the continental plate.

Participating in the session were experts from the Red Sismológica Nacional of the Universidad de Costa Rica, the Laboratorio de Ingeniería Sísmica from the same university and the Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico at Universidad Nacional in Heredia.

Although no one can predict earthquakes, some expats have been quick to voice their opinion on some of the social networks that the flurry of quakes is leading up to a major event.

The Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias that sponsored the event would be the lead agency if a disaster did take place. Despite the inability to predict quakes, the emergency commission said later that Costa Rican residents should be prepared at all times because the country is highly active geologically.

The latest quake in the area was Sunday at 11:36 a.m. that was estimated at 4.8 magnitude.

The cause of the quakes is the subduction of the Coco tectonic plate under the lighter Caribbean plate. The Panama Block also contributes stress from the south.

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