Costa Rica Earthquake Kills Two, Rattles Central America

A 7.6-magnitude earthquake in northwestern Costa Rica killed two people and sent hundreds running into the streets as far away as Panama and Nicaragua

A tsunami warning that was issued in the wake of a 7.6-magnitude Costa Rica earthquake that struck early Wednesday has been canceled.

Two people died in the September 5 quake, which occurred at 8:42 a.m. and was centered in the beach town of Cangrejal. One person died of a heart attack and another, a construction worker, died when a wall collapsed on him, BBC News reported. The epicenter was 87 miles west of San Jose, the Central American country’s capital, the Associated Press quoted the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) as saying. It was 25 miles underground.

The quake was felt as far away as Nicaragua and Panama, which border Costa Rica to the north and south, respectively. Some homes near the epicenter were knocked down, and landslides blocked some roads, local officials told the AP. Originally it was classified as a 7.9 magnitude, but the USGS revised it downward soon after.

Seismic activity is common in the zone of Wednesday’s temblor, the AP said, as the Cocos tectonic plate is pushing underneath the Caribbean plate.

"All along the Pacific coast of Central America, you can expect fairly big earthquakes," USGS seismologist Daniel McNamara told AP, adding that the epicenter’s depth is what saved it from being worse. "If it was a shallower event, it would be a significantly higher hazard.”