Nicaragua Earthquake 2013: Strong M-6.5 Tremor Rattles Pacific Coast Of Central America, Prompts Tsunami Warning [REPORT]
A Nicaragua earthquake, a magnitude 6.5, occurred off the Pacific coast of the Central American country around 11:34 local time on Saturday. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, or USGS, the tremor happened about 31 miles off the western coast of Nicaragua near the town of Masachapa.
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The USGS reports that the Caribbean plate, a mostly oceanic tectonic plate that underlies Central America and the Caribbean Sea, is a hotbed of seismic activity. At the plate's western perimeter, which runs parallel to the Central American coast, is the Middle American Trench, an area where the Caribbean plate and neighboring Cocos plate collide.
"This subduction results in relatively high rates of seismicity and a chain of numerous active volcanoes," the USGS notes. "Since 1900, there have been many moderately sized intermediate-depth earthquakes in this region, including the September 7, 1915 M7.4 El Salvador and the October 5, 1950 M7.8 Costa Rica events."
Although Nicaragua's seismological institute issued a tsunami alert following the Nicaragua earthquake, it was just a precaution, and no damage following the tremor has yet been reported.
An earthquake in the ballpark of magnitude 6 on the Richter scale usually causes moderate to severe damage. According to the Michigan Technological University, there are about 100 magnitude 6 quakes every year around the globe. Additionally, there are about 900,000 quakes of magnitude 2.5 or less, considered to be relatively harmless tremors.
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