Strong quake strikes Central America

  • 25/11/2016
Location of the quake (USGS)
Location of the quake (USGS)

A strong earthquake has shaken Central America, at the same time a hurricane is passing through the region.

The magnitude 7 quake struck at a depth of 10.3km, 154km south-southwest of Puerto Triunfo in El Salvador, according to the US Geological Survey.

It was initially reported at magnitude 7.2, but revised to 7. The shaking could be felt as far away as Costa Rica, hundreds of kilometres to the southeast.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) initially said waves between 30cm and a metre "are possible" on the coasts of El Salvador and Nicaragua, but didn't issue a formal warning. El Salvadoran officials issued an alert as a precaution.

No tsunami eventuated, and the PTWC says the threat has now passed.

There have been no immediate reports of damage.

Hurricane Otto is currently battering Nicaragua, to the southeast of El Salvador and east of the quake's epicentre, in the Pacific Ocean. Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega declared a state of emergency after the quake.

"We were serving lunch to the lawmakers and the earthquake started and we felt that it was very strong," said Jacqueline Najarro, a 38-year-old food seller at the Congress in San Salvador. "We were scared."

NZ Civil Defence and the Australian Tsunami Warning Centre both said there was no tsunami threat to New Zealand and Australia.

Much of Central America, like New Zealand, sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, where 90 percent of the world's earthquakes happen. El Salvador sits on the Caribbean plate, close to its borders with the Cocos and Nazca plates.

Reuters / Newshub.